Beyond the Western
Once an Asshole...
Scott A. Gese

A reunion with a father opens the eyes of the son.

Image Source: Ash Goldbrough / Unsplash

Beyond the Western

It was a quiet summer afternoon. Marcus and his mother were conversing at the kitchen table. Without warning, his father walked into the room and handed his mom legal papers, then walked back out. He walked out the front door and kept on going.

That was twenty years ago. Marcus vowed he would never talk to his father again. Up to this point, he hadn’t.

At the time, Marcus had no clue as to what was going on in his fathers head. All he saw were the physical manifestations of those thoughts. From his point of view, he saw his father walk out on his family. He believed his father was a full blown asshole. For the next twenty years, he held himself to his vow.

Now he wasn’t so sure. The decision not to ever talk to the man may have been irrational. One made by a stubborn and contentious twenty-five year old who didn’t know all the facts.

Age tended to mellow Marcus. It allowed him time to reflect. Realizing his hatred toward his father may have been unfounded, he decided to find him and talk with him. Marcus needed to know the truth. Why did he end his marriage and why did he disappear from their lives?

His father had tried to bury his whereabouts. It was apparent he didn’t want anyone finding him, but Marcus was adept with a computer and public records being what they are, he managed to come up with some assorted bits of information including an address. It was enough.

He lived in a very small mid-western town. He had changed his last name, remarried and had two kids. His wife’s name was Beth.

Marcus took a few days off and drove to this small town. He stopped at the local cafe, took a seat at the counter and ordered something to eat.

He needed to think about how he was going to approach his father. An older woman waited on him. Business was slow and she was talkative. He was surprised to find out that her name was Beth. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe providence. He wasn’t sure.

Among other things he gleaned from the conversation was that her husband picked her up each night. Out of habit, he would eat a piece of pie before they left. Turns out his name was Mack… his fathers name.

Marcus decided to linger until Mack showed up to have a piece of pie. Marcus guessed he would order the piece of cherry pie he had noticed sitting in the cooler. It was his father’s favorite when he was still married to his mother.

When Mack walked in the door he took a seat at the counter and ordered the cherry pie.

Beth noticed he smelled of cheap liquor.

“Have you been drinking again?” She asked.

She was visibly upset and didn’t care who heard her.

“What’s it too you. I got a right to have a drink once in a while.”

“You say you’re going to quit, but you never do,” she countered.

Mack shot back. “I’ll do what I damn well please. I don’t need you telling me what to do and I sure as hell don’t need any more of this grief. I’ll be waiting for you out in the car.” He shoved the pie at her and stomped out.

As Marcus recalled, Mack had a short fuse and a quick temper. He still did.

Marcus slapped a ten on the counter and followed him outside. “Mack Sheridon?” He called out.

Mack, hearing the name he hadn’t used in twenty years, stopped in his tracks. He turned around. “Who the hell are you?”

“I’m your son, Marcus. Remember me? I thought we might talk.”

“Why the hell would I want to do that. I left that life twenty years ago. I have no desire to relive it.” replied Mack.

“Thought maybe you’d changed over the years,” answered Marcus. “Thought I might have figured you wrong all along.”

“Well you thought wrong, kid. If I wanted to talk to you I would have looked you up. Now get the fuck away from me.”

The curt rejection stunned Marcus. “I guess I had you figured out from the day you left,” he replied. “You’re still the same asshole I remember.”

Disappointed, Marcus walked back to his car.

He drove off and never saw the old man again.

© Copyright 2020 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.