NOTE: This is the prologue to my first manuscript, Black Helicopters. The bulk of it was written in the spring and summer of 2003, with minor tweaks here and there ever since. I'm beginning work on an overhaul of the whole damned thing, but I like this first bit and thought I would share it with you.
“I think you’re both full of crap,” Junior grunted from his porch swing. “They’re ain’t no demons and there sure as Hell ain’t no little green men.”
“My God, I’m glad your mother can’t hear your filthy mouth,” the Reverend spat at his younger son. “You never heard such language in my house.”
Lester rose from his lawn chair and walked out under the clear, crisp Thursday night.
“Junior, are you tellin’ me that they aren’t other beings around any of these stars? As large as the universe is, there has to be other intelligences out there.”
“Lester, I’m more surprised at you,” the Reverend said, turning his attack to his older son. “All of those things in your books — rape, mutilation, kidnapping — how can you say that’s not satanic? Any decent person should be able to see that…”
Junior spoke up to draw the fire away from his big brother.
“Like I said, you’re both full of crap. Les, if there is intelligent life out there, it’s too far away to git here. And there ain’t no such thing as demons; that’s jist some shit they say at church to scare people.”
The Reverend, perched precariously the old redwood bench at the end of the porch, was beside himself.
“My God, you don’t believe in anything, do you?” the Reverend said. “I can’t believe you’re my son.”
An uncomfortable silence settled over the porch. Junior shook his head dismissively and took a sip from his vodka and grapefruit, making certain not to lose his rhythm on the swing. The Reverend glared at Junior and Lester shrugged his shoulders, knowing any defense would draw more fire from his brother or father.
Kellie, Junior’s girlfriend, came out onto the porch and plopped down next to him on the swing. The Reverend, already worked up by the whole discourse on aliens vs. demons vs. nothingness, stood up from the bench at the end of the porch.
“Lester, I’m ready to go home,” he announced.
Les looked over at Junior, who knew why his father could no longer take anymore of the conversation.
Junior had just enough vodka in him to bark, “what, Dad? She can cook your fuckin’ dinner, but she ain’t allowed in yer presence?”
“Clayton,” the Reverend began icily as Lester helped him off the porch, “I’m sure Kellie is a nice girl, but she had a husband when she took up with you. I will have no part of anyone with so little regard for marriage.”
Kellie, having heard this sermon before — many times before — grabbed Junior’s left arm in a feudal attempt to hold him down. Lester kept leading his father to the driveway.
“Yeah?” Junior barked. “Well she ain’t married to that drunk no more and even if she wuz it still wouldn’t be none of yer goddamn business.”
Junior was on his feet, despite Kellie’s best attempts to get him to sit back down.
Lester cringed as the Reverend glared back at Junior. Kellie was about to cry. The Reverend then uttered what they all assumed were the last words he would ever said to his namesake, Sheriff Clayton “Junior” Kilborn:
“You have been nothing but trouble for me since your mother died. I have always tried to overlook the fact that you blame me — incorrectly — her death.
“When you got home from Korea, I arranged for you to get on with the Sheriff’s Department. You never bothered to thank me…
“THANK YOU?” Junior burst as he exploded off the swing. “I earned that goddamn job by almost gittin’ my ass shot off in Korea…and I earned every promotion I ever got without you…”
The Reverend continued undeterred. “…for my help. I even kept quiet when you betrayed me and ran as a Democrat for Sheriff. God only knows what you promised that redneck Duffy Mills to get him out of the race.
“But I will not ruin my good name by blessing your co-habitation with a married woman. Your brother here embarrassed me enough with the way that ex-wife of his carried on; at least she had the good taste to move over to the next town.”
Kellie could almost hear the white noise crackling in Junior’s brain. She did see him lurching forward off the porch.
“Reverend, I think you should go now,” she said before things got any worse.
“Gladly,” he replied.