A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

by Alessandra Palank (Jan 2010)

       “Frank is not doing well, we don’t expect him to last the weekend.” It was the state hospital.

      Bobby hadn’t heard from them since Frank received unsolicited mail three years ago. In the beginning Bobby was interviewed by reporters from around the world. He shielded Frank from their questions and became his guardian after the sentencing. That was thirty years ago. Fascination with the case lived on in bad jokes and newspaper references whenever another crazy succeeded in doing something nearly as sensational as Frank had done. Bobby had taken the case for the money, but in the end was paid only in the notoriety that made him a celebrity on bar stools at conventions. His wife still said it cost him the election.

      “What type of arrangement would you like for the remains?”

      It was deer season when Frank called him to ask for representation. The small-town streets were lined with gutted bodies strapped on cars. Tongues hung below the eyes of the dead. Frank’s shack was secluded among trees where weathered boards hid the spoils. Snow covered the blood. Vomit steamed on the frozen earth.

      “Cremation would be cheapest.” The doctor spoke from logic.

      Bobby looked out his office window upon a dusting of snow blowing across the darkened street. The deer were gone, and so was almost everything else.

      “I don’t think Frankie would like that. He always believed in resurrection. He thought he could bring all those people back.” Bobby’s gaze returned to the room’s lonely clutter. “We better bury him whole. I can make some calls.”

      “Now I know that Frank had one friend.” The psychiatrist smiled.



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