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[2006: JAN-FEB] Things To Do In Dallas When You Are Dead

Rocar Drawoh

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“Things To Do in Dallas When You Are Dead”

By Russ Heston

Must have been a cold wind, or a least a freak show of rain. When it hit me it stung, mix of cold and despair. Ensign Russ Heston looked up at the large Texas sky and signed. It felt odd to be home. “So many broken pieces.”

Russ walked from the landing pad and into the spaceport. Last thing he had remembered doing was drinking with his friends. Now he came back home. He crushed out the cigarette in his mouth. With a deep breath the doors opened and he saw a very unusual site, His parents and his brother and sister waiting for him.

His father still looked imposing, the old withered and staunchly rigid man stood there waiting for him. Russ felt like a kid again and he was coming home to listen to them glorify something that Mark did. His sister Denise was standing next to him. His mother stood there oddly smiling at him.

Russ looked at all of them and noticed the grinning. He stomped his foot down and let out a “Who the hell had a stroke? Y’all are grinning like you don’t have a central nervous system?” He then bean grinning.

There was just a moment of silence and Mark stood forward , “Russ we are just glad to see you alive. We got a letter from the military saying you died in an attack by the cyborgs at the Embassy? When we heard you were alive….” Mark seemed genuinely happy to see him.

It was the old man that spoke p next, “Well you run away to escape your problems at the home, So you run back here to escape your trubba from work?” His fathers heavy southern accent flecked and peppered every word he said.

“Now, dear you don’t have to be so harsh.” It was his mom’s voice. She seemed to be sticking up for him. His father let out a sigh and they all walked out to the parking lot. Russ saw his dad’s hover car parked in the lot. He also saw Mark’s car and he saw sitting in the car Mark’s children and wife.

The kids came running out of the car with cries of “Uncle Russ”. Russ smirked at his dad. He then reached into his bag and pulled out some Lauden toys for the children to play with. It was then a photo of him and a woman fell out of his bag.

Denise, his sister was the one who spoke up, “ Russ, who is that?” Russ stopped cold in his tracks and looked down. He saw Toni Turner looking up at him. Russ began stammering. Sitting on top of the picture was an engagement ring. While he had yet to give it to her he knew they were going to go overboard on. He quickly picked up the picture and the ring and muttered “Nothing”

Russell Senior spoke up again, “Denise if he wanted us to tell about how he is screwing up his life again he would tell us.” With that they all got into the Hover car and drove almost silently to Mesquite. On the way there they passed Russ’s old High school and a shudder went through his spine. He further got nervous when he saw the old now boarded up building that used to be the Kroger’s he worked at as a teenager.

The vehicle sped down the road until it came to several rows of old beat up homes. 1801 Belt Line. It was at the edge of what most normal folk would consider civilization. The car stopped. Russell Senior turned back and said, “We are here.”

To Russ all of this felt uncomfortable, like he was a visitor and not a family member. Being unloved was fine, he was well used to it. But this made him feel like he was a Klingon at the Vulcan science academy. Russ let out a discontented sigh.

“So this is what hell feels like.” Russ muttered this as he stretched. He watched his family walk into the Old Heston residence. There was a yellow ribbon tied in front of the tree. He smirked as he looked at it.

All the family was walking inside. All but Mark. Mark was his older brother who had been involved in both saving and getting into trouble. Russ stared at Mark.

It was Mark that spoke first. "Russ you know Dad is still furious over what happened with Carm, and his grandkids. And before you go in there..." Russ felt his gut turn as he opened his mouth to answer to his brother.

"Yes I know I am a jackass, yes I know I have screwed up that’s why I did not want to come back home. Maybe I should have given Dad just what he wanted and just died. And just in case you are wondering that picture Denise saw was of somebody who yes I am very much in... I am involved with." Russ almost let slip the L word and he knew that would send everybody over the edge.

"Well you know Russ, we love you, we don't want you dead. But this estranged dude stuff that you are pulling, It ain't flying with a lot of us. Now come on inside be with us. At least put your gear away."

Russ stowed his stuff in his old bedroom. It looked like it had not changed since he was eighteen. Russ was feeling very depressed from all of this. He did what he always did in situations where he felt like he was being picked on. He left. He climbed out the window. He felt just like a kid doing this. Like somehow he was sneaking away to go to a movie.

Russ walked down the road. He figured it was time to make this cycle of humiliation and humility complete. He had to see if Carmen was still around. She lived not but two houses down from him. It would at least give him a chance to vent his feelings about the kids and about leaving her. He had to explain things to her.

He could see through the window his boys playing. He began to walk up the stairs he felt the strength leave his body as he took each step up. He could not bring himself to climb the stairs. He could not bring himself to knock on the door. He could not bear to speak with her.

He stepped back and down. He stepped on the lawn, his head was spinning and somewhere in the distance he heard a dog barking. The noise stung in his ears. He felt like Frankenstein’s Monster at this point. He needed a drink.

(Sam Huston Bar and Grill)

Russ walked into the bar. He shook both the cold and the bad mood off as the Lynrd Skynrd hit his ears. It was one of the few things about coming home he liked. Saloons were all over Texas. He saw the girl dancing on the stage. He sat down and ordered a jack and coke. The bartender brought the beverage to him.

He sipped the drink and continued to watch the woman’s body sway to the music. The liquid burnt slightly as it went down. It took a moment for the alcohol to go down and start to make him feel numb. He remembered what he did right before the Borg attacked the Embassy, he crawled into a bottle, He suggested an evacuation and he hid.

Nut that was something he would never admit to. “Let everybody think I am a flake. Better then thinking I am a coward then a looser.” He said this outloud and to himself. He did not see a person walk up to the table.

“Russ Heston? Oh my gosh its you!” A rather well endowed blond was jiggling in front of him. His mind reeled trying to recall who this woman was. He stared at her just enjoying the view. He nodded at her.

“Its me Joyce Reynolds… John’s sister.” She leaned forward and Russ let his eyes follow her. Russ remembered teasing JT about her before he left the Embassy to come here. He took another sip of his drink. He managed to get enough sense to motion to her to sit down.

She sat down. She took a sip of his drink. She wore a nametag it said “Joyce” on it. She must be one of the girls that worked at the joint. Russ then brought his eyes to her face. She smiled at him and said, “Its okay looking don’t hurt nothing You doing okay? Its like Christmas time and stuff”

“No it ain’t I am the biggest wussy in the universe.” Russ said this as he slammed down more of his drink. He rubbed his eyes. “I don’t know why I even came back here. I am such a jerk. I might as well just go back to my rock and climb under it.” He motioned at the bartender to bring him another drink.

Joyce looked at him and grinned,” Hey don’t feel that way. Men in uniform are sexy. And besides how many times to I get to meet a genuine local boy who done good?” She bounced a little in her chair. Russ genuinely felt his mood improving.

Russ smiled at her and opened his wallet. He set down all the cash he had in it. Wished her a safe holiday and left the bar. He knew what he had to do versus what he should do. Either way it was a suck or suck more situation. He decided that he had to suck more. It was better to just go back to the Embassy where they at least knew he was a jerk rather then a looser.

He hailed a taxi and started to drive to the space port he picked up his data pad. He typed in his brothers email. He felt his eyes grow something moist as he began to type,

Dear Mark,

Sorry I took off early an emergency took place. Feel free to send my stuff to the Embassy. Top secret type of stuff. Dad will be mad. But I am sure that’s nothing new.


OPS It was a mistake coming home.


As Russ entered the transport bound for Duronis II he knew in his gut lying to his brother would come back to bite him, But sticking around was going hurt and cost him a heck of a lot more. He felt horrible. He felt like dying. As the Shuttle took off he turned on his musical programming. He sang along with the recording. It was a recording of Warren Zevon’s “Things to Do in Denver When You are Dead.” Russ replaced Denver with Dallas.

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Okay I finished this, Not sure how to put the tag on the toppic of this seeing that I did not start it. Rocar I senbt you a pm about this but just in case

DING post is done.

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