I can blame almost all of what happened on the snow.  I won't, though. It's your job to look into things, motivations, secret reasons tunneling through my brain.  I figure you're too smart to accept the weather as the trigger for what I did.  I'm here because I want to know what's wrong, not to see how tricky I can be.

      You already know why I was on that road.  I took a wrong turn.  Simple.  It was dark.

      Alright, I'll talk about that.  I'll tell you about her.  You have my file, though.  Is it some weird psych fetish thing to hear the past come out of the patient's mouth?  It doesn't matter, I guess.  Yeah, my mother was put away.  She was out of her mind for a long time before my father decided to help her, or maybe help himself by getting rid of her.

      I'm a big guy, but I always try to keep an unthreatening look on my face.  Maybe it comes off as a smirk.  I don't know.  I try.  Still, my mother was terrified of me.

      One night, she comes out of her bedroom like a dimestore banshee in her nightgown and she's screaming at me.  She's yelling, "I see you, devil!"  Here I was giving her my pleasant face and she starts beating my chest with her fists, both of them cracking and popping like thin ice under a boot.  She actually broke her right hand hitting my sternum.  Hitting the bony heart-cage of a demon, she thought.  A week later and she was put away.  She ended up eating plastic flowers from some craft thing and choking to death after about a year in that place.  That was my mother.  Good enough?  Okay, back to the road.  How about you let me get through this thing?

      The snow was all over the place and the road wasn't wide enough for me to try and turn around when I realized I was in the wrong place.  That's when I saw a house on the left with a big yard.  I pulled over and tried to back into the road.  My tires did nothing but spin.  There I was digging trenches in somebody's yard and sending up the rubber-stinking smoke signals from my tires when I all wanted to do was get back home.

      Well, yeah.  I eventually got back on the road.  You know that, goddamnit.  I don't know what you are trying to cause, but I'm telling you the whole story.  No secrets.  It was after I got out of the yard that I really ended up stuck.  My back tire slid and went in the ditch about five minutes from that house.   Mud and snow all over the place.  It was a real mess.  I realized I had to walk back to that house and ask for help.

      I was freezing, as you might imagine, so I knocked on the door with the kind of jerky fast punches where the temperature controls what your limbs do.  I don't know if it sounded like a warning inside the house or what, but when the woman answered the door, she was in full-on rabbit mode.

      You know what I mean by that.  You've seen a goddamn rabbit.  You've seen its eyes.  It's like they are wired on something but too scared to move.  That woman, her eyes were the same when she opened the door and saw me standing there.  I introduced myself and gave her my smile.  Well, she was already in woodland creature mode and pretty much yelled, "What do you want?" at me and closed the door to where a pale slice of her face was all I could see.

      There I was shivering and giving her my smile, letting her know that I was a good guy, and all it did was get her to almost slam the door in my face.  I told her the problem, told her that just a few minutes before I was stuck in her yard, now I was stuck in a ditch on down the road, and she could barely form a sentence.   She kept saying, "I can't help." Over and over again she said it, even though I was freezing on her doorstep and smiling to put her at ease.

      The little slice of her face, those rabbit eyes, the totally unnecessary fear in her voice, it set me off.  You already know why, I'm sure.  You have your theories and have probably already jotted them down in that little legal pad.  I pushed the door open and knocked her backwards into a coffee table.  She crab-scrambled on the floor and grabbed a telephone from the edge of the table and called the police before I had the chance to calm her down.

      It's true that I knocked the phone out of her hand.  I panicked.  I mean, I know I was in the wrong.  I shouldn't have even went in the house, let alone start stomping around like a real madman.  I just wanted her to understand that I wasn't a bad guy.

      The police picked me up about halfway back to my car.  Didn't even offer to help me get it out of the ditch before taking me in.  Nice guys.

      I guess you needed my view of things, the way my particular camera filtered the event, right?  Was this all about my mother?   I wish you could ask the rabbit woman, but we both know that's not happening.  Just looking at you, I know you've got it all figured out.  Do me a favor, though.  At the end of your little version of our talk on that legal pad, make sure and add a special note.  You make sure and write down that I'm smiling, that it's a good smile.  Make sure and record the fact that I've been smiling the entire time.


People keep their doors locked at night around here for a reason, I guess.  I never really understood the fear that people pack around all through their lives in the Appalachian region, so I decided to write a story from the point of view of a character whose job, whether he realizes it or not,  it is to inspire the nervousness and dread that accompanies a late-night knock at the door. 


All Because
- Jarrid Deaton (c)


Copyright 2009