I am responsible for the beings I brought into this world. I’m the single parent of three teenage boys, a task I carried out with joy, until today.
My eldest, Dave called sometime before dawn and in a shaky tear filled voice, informed me that they had killed a man. It was an accident, but it would never look that way to anyone who wasn’t there. They needed my help.
I rushed to the road crossing they gave me to sort it out. In the back roads of North Dakota, passing cars are few and far between but people would be leaving for work soon and this needed fixing before they were seen.
When I arrived, my three boys were sitting in a line against the tailgate of their shared truck. “Where is he?” I asked right away. All three turned their guilty faces to the deep ditch on their left.
I walked down to the body and steeled my nerves. Possibly dead things give me the heeby jeebies, but a mother’s got to do what she’s got to do. I checked his pulse first, there was nothing. Which wasn’t a surprise considering the angle of the man’s neck. It was spun around entirely too far, also the flesh along his torso was deeply shredded. I held back a gag at the shit and blood smell that assaulted my nose.
Walking back to my boys, I asked “What happened? And I want the quick, tearless version. Do you hear me?!” They nodded and Frank, my middle child began.
“We were coming back from the Darson’s party and there was a dirty guy hitchhiking, so we picked him up. He talked to himself a little but then jumped in the bed. We went no more than two miles and he starts freaking out in the back. Screaming and pointing at something that wasn’t there. Anyway, he jumped out of the truck! We was doing at least fifty and he dove out. When I noticed he wasn’t there anymore, I had John back up to see if he was ok. Then there was this awful thump and crunch…”
Frank dissolved into tears so I turned to question my youngest, John. “So you were driving?” He nods up and down. “Your 15 and don’t have a license, why were you driving?”
He glanced at his older brothers before answering, “They were too drunk and I hadn’t drank and the roads were empty so they thought it was okay and I’m so sorry Momma. I don’t want to go to jail!” I hugged John and pointed evilly at the other two; they hung their heads. “Momma’s not letting any of her babies go to jail.” I whispered.
“Well hell’s bell’s….ugh!” I yelled out and released my son from my arms, it was time to get to work. “John, go get the latex gloves and the new tarp from the back of my car. We’ll spread it next to the body.”
With our hands protected we rolled the man up in the large tarp like a burrito, then tossed him into the truckbed. Taking the gloves off before getting in our vehicles, I stopped a mile later and buried the gloves in a random spot in the ditch. We continued down the road.
My brain kept coming up with new rationalizations for what I was doing. “He was crazy. No one will miss a crazy bum.” But realy the only reason I was doing this was because I wasn’t about to let a couple small mistakes and a lunatic ruin my family. Never.
I had the boys follow me home to drop off my car. We collected shovels and drove out on to the prarie a long ways, picked a secluded valley and buried that poor man deep. I said the lords prayer, the boys cried, and we started for home.
On the way home, I remembered to ask, “No one saw you three on the side of the road right?”
Dave gulped and said,”Mr. Fisher passed us, but didn’t stop. Maybe he didn’t see us, he’s like a hundred years old I think.”
I sighed, “When we get home, you boys wash the truck just like I told you. Plenty of bleach, you hear?…John you run in and get Papa’s old deer rifle and some ammo. Mama’s almost got everything fixed.”