Driving With Dead People

Driving With Dead People by Monica Holloway

Book: Driving With Dead People by Monica Holloway Read Free Book Online
Authors: Monica Holloway
been trying to choke her. We let it go for the sake of the holiday.
     
    After the sunrise service and breakfast prepared by Dad, who was in “great guy” mode, after fancy dresses and suits, Mom insisted on hiding our Easter baskets in the backyard. Jamie was fifteen, JoAnn was thirteen, Becky was eleven, and I was ten, so no one wanted to hunt Easter baskets anymore. I decided to take Buddy and find the baskets myself.
    I was walking up the steps clutching them all to my chest when Uncle Dale, Mom’s only sibling, pulled into our driveway in his squad car. He was a state policeman and always looked exceptionally handsome and important in his starched blue uniform and gold badge. He walked in the side door, and I ran to see what was up. I set the baskets on the living room floor near Jamie and gave Uncle Dale a hug. I could tell by his face that something was wrong. He leaned down and said, “Is your dad here?”
    “Yes,” I said, and ran to the kitchen to get him. I figured Dad was going to jail for “not choking” Mom.
    Dale followed and told me to run and get Mom, too. I called for Mom and she walked in and nodded her head for me to get lost. Dale was talking in a serious whisper.
    I ran back to the living room and tried to distract myself by separating the black jelly beans from all the others that had collected in the bottom of my Easter basket. I handed Jamie a coconut egg. He hated coconut and threw it at my head. “Kiss my ass,” I whispered to him, and he cracked up. I’d been cussing for a while now, but if Mom heard me, I got smacked.
    “Bare it and we’ll share it,” Jamie said, and we died laughing. I was so nervous I would have laughed at anything.
    Dale was there only a few minutes and waved to us as he left without Dad. Mom and Dad went into their bedroom and slammed the door. They weren’t speaking to each other after what had happened the night before, so now all four of us were worried. We tried to figure out what had happened.
    “Granda died,” I offered. (Granda was only sixty-four, but seemed ancient. Every time there was some kind of bad news, I was sure Granda had died.)
    “Shut up,” Becky snapped.
    “Someone broke into Dad’s store,” Jamie said. “That’s why the state police were called.”
    “Maybe Dad’s girlfriend came back,” I said.
    “Maybe Sam Lunsford shot Granda as she was driving by his house,” JoAnn said dryly.
    “Nobody shot anyone,” Jamie assured us.
    “Maybe Dad’s going to jail,” I told them.
    They just stared at me.
    “Why, for being a fucker?” Jamie said. My eyebrows flew up. We had never used the f word before.
    Just then, Dad came out of the bedroom, slammed out the side door, and took off running down the sidewalk toward Mammaw’s house. I jumped up and looked out the living room windows. I’d never seen him run so fast.
    Mom turned off the record player, which had been playing non-stop Frank Sinatra albums, and yelled, “You kids come in here.”
    We slowly filed into the kitchen.
    “Your uncle Carl passed away this morning. Your dad’s very upset. So, give me a minute and let me make some phone calls and figure some of this out. Your dad went down to tell Mammaw and Papaw.”
    Uncle Carl wouldn’t be driving that Greyhound bus anymore. I wondered what had happened.
    “Did Sam Lunsford shoot him?” I asked.
    “No one shot him,” Mom replied. “He died in his car.”
    “A damn car accident,” I said, smacking the counter. I was always waiting to die in a car wreck. Part of it was the calamities I’d seen on our home movies and part of it was the daredevil way Dad drove when we were with him. Carl’s accident confirmed it for me. We would all die in cars.
    “Quit cussing. I already told you.” Mom smacked the side of my head. “And it wasn’t a car accident,” she said. “It was something else.”
    We all stared at her, confused. Carl was only thirty-nine years old, not sixty-four like Granda—what could have killed

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