|The Story||The Authors|
Such small-town decorum, however, did not prevent the arriving ambulance from
pulling up lickety-split in the epicenter of the Hickey lawn and slamming on
its brakes, leaving tire-gouges in the moist green expanse of the grass and
lethally uprooting the entire row of Mrs. Hickey's prize hydrangeas! "Yo!
Hickey-Stickey! What up?" hallooed the driver, leaping out of the front seat
without waiting for an answer and commencing a series of gawky leaps and
cartwheels which took him up the walk and front steps and into the front hall
of the Hickey house in a manner more befitting a character out of Dr. Seuss
than an EMT. "Ta-da!" he exclaimed, bowing theatrically and the
grief-immobolized Officer Hickey. "Never fear, the Crink-ster's here!" |
Jeremy Crink: eldest son of the Morton Crink, Proprietor, Morton Crink & Sons Funeral Home, the twon's oldest such establishment. Jeremy Crink moonlighted as an EMT: of course he did: what else would he do but lurk across the town's collective midnights only to show up first at the scene of every murder, suicide, accident, and death... And "crink' as a word was how he moved through the often-unyielding world, how he spoke, how he gestured, all nervous energy gone awry, adrenaline transformed into anxiety like starch into sugar... He was a speed addict without the speed being necessary... And then there were those stories than Diane Amano, the own town girl who'd ever been brave or deperate enough to date him (she'd spurned Officer Hickey's adolescent advances) told about what he showed her with the corpses in the morgue's so-called "Pickling Room" and what he'd confessed, later, when drunk... A fiend, that's what he was; a slow-jerk fiend. With which thought Officer Hickey resumed his sighing, gesturing helplessly at the stiffening form of his mother on the hall floor.
"Yo, dude-a-roonski, yer old lady hung herself! Fuckin' cool-o-reeni! Was her
tongue, like, hangin' out like this —" here Jeremy demonstrated what he meant —
"and like all black an' shit? Whoa, dude! That's heavy..." |
Officer Hickey's sobs had by then reached a truly bovine pitch, the wailing of a guernsey bossie trapped in a thicket of barbwire. Police Chief Llefty Llewellyn heard the sound five blocks away as he sped to the scene of the suicide in his cruiser. "Christ, what the be-fucking-jeezus is that, my wife screwing the milkman again or something?"
When he got to the Hickey House, the Chief pulled up on the lawn too, right of Crink's ambulance, thereby destroying the other half of Mrs. Hickey's justifiably famous hydrangeas...
|Hickey couldn't take it any more, "Would you people show some respect for the dead. Ma aint no spectacle, never was, and never will be. Got it? You all just leave me here alone with Ma, and I'll wait for the coroner.” Talking to these people was like trying to tell the crows to stop picking a dead cat on I-81. Having his fill of grief Hickey, just left the building. “Don’t you birds be fight’n over her eyeballs now”. Without even warming up his dinner, Hickey took off like a gangbanger out on parole for the first time. This would mean a new life for Hickey. No more mamma’s boy, no more home cooked meals or hospital corners on his bed. With all this in the past, Hickey made one last promise to his deal mother. Sitting in his squad car, with his fists clenched on the black leather steering wheel, he muttered, “Ma, I love Ya, and I promise, I’ll make Ya proud of me, I’m gonna solve that Brinkley case and clear ya good name.”|
|That decided, the grieving dinnerless Hickey went for a drive. A long destinationless drive in the countryside. He needed a taste of freedom. He needed to drown out the guilty little voices in the back of his mind that were blaming him for his Mother's suicide and to drown out the equally guilty thoughts that he was actually happy about it. Free from the endless ministrations of the castrating bitch who pampered and coddled him for the express purpose of never letting him out of her beady eyed buzzard sight. What other high school senior had ever been guilted into taking his mother to the prom as his date? The teary threats when he'd tried to accept a police post in another town. The not so subtle ways she had of burning his dinner and starching his socks when she was angry at him. He tried to remember the names of all the pets he'd had that disappeared or died mysteriously or accidentally when he hadn't been home. All that gone now. He was free and it felt good. And then there was the guilt about feeling good. It was all so confusing really. Hickey turned on the sirens and lights and stomped the gas. Opening a window on the chill Spring air he let it run through his thinning burr of hair. In some ways it was good to be alive.|