Keep Art Alive :: Art by Aaron Nagel
“Come away little lass,
come away to the water,
to the arms that are waiting only for you.”
There were rumors that flew through the desert, floating across telephone lines and traded over beer runs and gas tank refills. Some of them landed at Laney and Jack’s doorstep like a thrown newspaper, or an unwanted flyer for psychic advice or delivery pizza, some of them hit harder though, intent lodged at them when they were on their own, in the school halls, at the bus stop, and in the aisle of the grocery store; these rumors stuck to them like darts, like bandages, like scars.
Their Mother had left them. Their Father was drunk and half-crazy, on good days. Laney and Jack may as well been orphans, and by every right they were. Social Service never came around though, no Fagan to teach them to be singing thieves, no superstars to swoop in and save the day, adding the deserted brother and sister of the desert to their rainbow collection. They still had a Man who lived under their roof, mostly in a recliner full of whiskey and low rent beer, but by blood, or at least their Mother’s word, he was their Father.
Truth is, Daddy dear had not spoken a word to either of them since she left. Not a word. He just stared into the TV screen, endlessly watching the same unreal reality of abandoned bags, car notes and storage sheds.
Everyone leaves something behind on the way out of this wasteland. Everyone eventually goes out looking for the water.