Last Rites - Cover

Last Rites

by TC Allen

Copyright© 2011 by TC Allen

True Story: Tis is a quick look at the last days of a proud man felled by a stroke.

Tags: True  

"Well for Christ's sakes! Where in the hell did the old fool get to now?" Son Bob was bitching as he usually did when the old man wandered off the front porch. The old man heard his angry son and didn't care what he thought.

To sit in one place all day long just wasn't right for a man who had been where he'd been and done what he'd done. No, it sure as hell wasn't right. It was much nicer to walk away from the farmhouse, on down to the little stream and sit on the damp bank and watch the fish jump in the air and snap an unwary insect before plopping back into the water. That really wasn't all so very much to ask for. On the other hand it sure as God made little red chilies was better than sitting on that hard assed porch swing all day.

His daughter in law's voice sounded on the side that could hear. "Now Papa, you got to stop wandering off like that. Can't you see that we worry when you go where we can't see you? Come on, let's get back on the porch." She slowly and carefully led him back up as he tried to tell her that there wasn't a god damned thing wrong with his mind, it was his treacherous body that kept betraying him since the stroke.

"I, I, you, you ... aargh!" angrily he shrugged his arm away from her grasp and walked with as much wounded dignity as he could muster back up the steps.

His useless left arm flopped like a broken thing. Left leg dragged just a bit as he laboriously climbed the stairs that, although they looked the same height felt twice as high and his feet felt like he had five-pound weights on them.

His mind didn't feel old at all! Nevertheless, his goddamned body was all worn out. ("Oh death, where's thy sting?") See? He remembered that from close to sixty years ago when he and Clara went to see that Shakespeare production!

The old man sat in the porch swing trying, willing his stubborn vocal cords to miraculously start to work again. Inarticulate and incoherent sounds rumbled from his throat as his dead tongue wallowed around in his mouth and drool ran out of the corners of his mouth. Ah! Ah! Ah! Shnii..." He couldn't even saw "aw shit."

Tears of frustration formed again in his eyes and he looked across the road that ran in front of the large white farmhouse at the fields he had acquired just before the stroke. He had been going to do such great things with that last three hundred acres he bought. But now ... He groaned and sat and watched the sun set and felt the chill air on his face and chest. Oh to be a man again, a whole man. He sat and waited to be put to bed...

"Jesus Christ, where is that old man? Has he gone wandering off again?"

The old man sat on the porch in the porch swing and silently enjoyed his little rebellion.

They forgot he was out here. He smiled inwardly and felt glad that he was able to irritate his son, the ungrateful whelp! Where had he and Clara gone wrong? They tried to raise him right and proper. But instead of a loving son they had raised a selfish bastard who couldn't wait to get his hands on the farm. God dammit, I tried, we tried!

"Oh, there you are, Pa. Jesus don't you have enough brain cells left to come inside?

Come on." He roughly led his father into the house and to his bedroom, actually his son's old room. They had taken over the master bedroom.

Laboriously he undressed, slipped his feet out of the lined bedroom slippers, took off his bib overalls and laid down in the rest of his clothing. No one would bother him until morning. He lay there in the darkness and stared out the window into the black night. He dozed and woke and dozed and woke one last time. All at once he knew!

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