Sick to Death of Sto­ries

Broken Pencil - - Table Of Contents - by PD Wal­ter

THE BLACK LEATHER biker jacket had been a gift from his ex-wife, Josephine. She gave it to Jake right be­fore she left him. At 16, their daugh­ter Katie was old enough to de­cide who she wanted to stay with. Now 26, she won­dered if she’d made the wrong choice.

Her dad was limp­ing through an­other phys­io­ther­apy ses­sion. Af­ter­math of a mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dent.

‘Who does that?’ she was think­ing. ‘Who takes up mo­tor-bik­ing at 61 years of age?’

And who wears a leather jacket in hos­pi­tal, as a pa­tient? Some­one who wants to as­sert that, un­like the old­sters he saw around him, rot­ting in the re­hab ward, Jake had plenty of life left to live.

“A mo­tor­cy­cle?” she’d said when he bought it — with more than half his life sav­ings. “Don’t peo­ple just ride mo­tor­cy­cles un­til they have an ac­ci­dent scary enough to stop?”

Jake’d had his the first time out. Bike to­talled, smashed against a sign­post on a hair­pin turn. He was lucky his cor­pu­lent torso hadn’t taken the im­pact. A bum leg was an in­con­ve­nience. A miss­ing kid­ney would take five years off your life.

Up on the par­al­lel bars, favour­ing the leg that didn’t have pins in it, Jake grunted, groaned and sweated, while Katie held his arm and stead­ied him.

“Go slow, dad. Don’t force your­self.” He had no one to blame but him­self for be­ing here, and she looked for­ward to the last of these vis­its.

He took a break, gasp­ing for air. His shoul­ders weren’t in much bet­ter shape than his legs. “You know, as much fun as this isn’t, it’ll make a great story…”

A great story. Katie wasn’t sure any of the sto­ries they could tell about their lives were ‘great’.

“For a song, like. Maybe a whole al­bum,” he said. “Oh, sure…” She’d spent her en­tire child­hood sit­ting cross-legged at her fa­ther’s feet, lis­ten­ing to him lament his real and fic­tional sor­rows in an end­less string of grimy, beer-smelling blues bars. She’d adored him, thought he looked like Odin with his big scratchy beard, seated on his throne, guitar in his lap, in a halo of blue smoke. By the time she was 12, she’d very likely done enough

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.