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Message no. 1, to Granny by Eric Lloyd Blix

From: Hunter Abbot
To: Jolene Abbot
Date: Mon, June 24, 2013 at 9:17 AM
Subject: SAYONARA!!!
Well, Granny, here we go. Malachi is all hopped up on caffeine and whatever else he has leftover in his system. (A chip off the old block, huh? I think he’s just like dad, what with his intoxication and womanlessness, except dad never had anything like a dog-with-tits tattooed to his back, at least not that I’m aware of). I’m really glad he’s here this morning. Like because we kept finding that webcam stuff in the browser history, then on the statements for the company card, and now he’s always on the computers at the library? I asked him once how much time and money he’s spent on that website and he just showed me the knife in his boot. Malachi always has stuff still in his system, don’t you think?
     Anyway, I know you may or may not read this, since I’m not there to show you how to use the internet. However, I am of the opinion that you know enough to get by without me. At least you know how to type LOL!
     You can’t do anything on a computer if you can’t type. Well, I guess you probably learned on a typewriter when you were a little girl. I don’t know, did you ever type LOL or anything like that? Did that kind of thing exist back then? There’s also ROFL and ROFLMFAO and stuff. I don’t know if you typed that kind of thing. If the LOL throws you off just look at the list of acronyms and web jargon I left for you. It’s right there on your desk beside you, between your pistol and that picture of Grandpop hugging Pastor Swaggart.
     What else?
     I particularly like the sidecar Malachi let me weld to his hog. I modeled it after one of our rockets. Maybe it can be our company vehicle or something, you know? Malachi says that taxes are too high no matter where we go in the continental 48, which is what he calls America minus Alaska and Hawaii I guess, and we should just go straight to the Virgin Islands and screw off with this whole road trip idea. He wants to set up an offshore subsidiary or something. Yeah, right.
     I don’t get why, you know? What could he possibly have to do overseas that he doesn’t already do right here in Fargo, ND? You know how you keep sending him to repair that same coin-op rocket in front of the K-Mart? All he does is have sex with this girl who works there! I saw it one time. Remember when I told you about it? How could you not, right?
     In case you forgot or blocked it out, I went to the K-Mart to follow up and see if he needed any help because he’d been out of the office for so long. And there they were in the gardening section, which I like to walk past whenever I’m in K-Mart because I like the smell the fertilizer and potting soil, and I see these four feet sticking out between a bundle of rakes in the corner all twitchy and whatever, the feet were. And then I notice the Metallica shirt of Malachi’s that smells like the fleshy part between a guy’s balls and his ass hole because he, Malachi I mean, always has it on. I see this shirt of his bundled up on the floor next to a pair of girl’s khakis.
     I didn’t even look over the rocket, Granny, that’s how horrified I was, I just hurried out without even finishing my own work. I let the rocket be, unrepaired. Malachi having sex with a girl at K-Mart, in the store. Jesus Christ. Customers walk by there. Little kids. And I know the girl, Granny. She’s only 17! This was a year ago! Malachi is 33 going on 34! Disgusting.
     The merry-go-round thing in front of the store worked just fine, though, if I remember correctly. Some little kid threw a tantrum because he wanted to ride the rocket next to it, and it was only the girly merry-go-round thing that worked. His face was so pink against the orange bricks.
     It figures that our first stop today would be the liquor store. I wish you could see Malachi now, Granny. It would make your heart fizzle out. He’s still mostly drunk, I think. Malachi smoked three cigarettes while we waited outside for this liquor store to open. This was over like, five minutes, I don’t know, I’m just wondering I guess if the proprietor of this establishment would have any interest in placing some of our wares in front of his store, because it seems to me that grown men and women all turn to kids or idiots when they’ve imbibed. Seems like a win-win to me, don’t it to you?
     Malachi offered me a smoke, and you’ll be proud to know that I refused it. I care about my body, Granny, and I know that our business is in too fragile of a state for me to risk my health. That and, well, you don’t offer your employees health insurance, even if they’re near and dear to you like your own youngest grandson that you raised all the way up almost to manhood.
     The girl working the till gave Malachi the fuck off look through the liquor store door when she flipped on the OPEN sign. He had this look himself like, guess who’s ready for business. Pretty sure he wanted to have sex with her right there and then. He put out his cigarette on the side of the liquor store and asked me if I wanted anything. I told him negatory, Granny, “I’m underage and I’m navigating!” I said.
     Malachi nodded at the girl inside and whistled. Then he laughed his wheezy laugh and I could see the gap where his one canine tooth is missing. Can you believe he actually used his mouth to pry the twist caps off beer bottles? I don’t know why he didn’t just twist them. I suppose he thought he’d get some action from it because as I remember this was before he had his thing with Amber, you know all that on and off bull crap? Certainly you remember Amber. She was adopted by Catholics. That stuck in your craw, remember? When she and Malachi weren’t around, you’d make fun of the way her eyes slanted.
     Anyway, Amber was there when Malachi lost his tooth, squeezed between me and Malachi on the couch. It was this party like thing in M’s trailer, so I don’t know, I suppose maybe she thought it was sexy or whatever for Malachi to open bottles with his mouth, or maybe she just wasn’t interested in me or Big Fat Kent Carlson, who were, me and Big Fat Kent, this party thing’s only other guests, and Kent lived there.
     Why would she be interested in either of us, right? I was only 13 and Big Fat Kent got his name because he’s so big and fat and unappealing. I still liked the look of her titties at that age. Especially at that age.
     So, all things considered ROFL.
     Boy, Malachi has been in there for a while. He must be back by the beer coolers. It’s hot out, Granny. I don’t know if Grandpa has gotten up yet to wheel you outside for your AM smoke, but it’s hot. Malachi’s hair was all stringy with sweat when he went into the store and you could see that his bandana was soaked through on the forehead.
     There’s a Pepsi machine out front of this place, do you think I could talk the aforementioned proprietor into letting us stick a rocket in its spot? Think of all the drunkards that would insert their quarters. The pop machine’s here so we already know they have quarters to spend. I guess that maybe the up down motion of the rocket may cause them to hurl. Could be worth our while, you think? Maybe this subsidiary Malachi wants to set up could specialize in the cleanup of bodily fluids. Puke, whatever.
     Here comes Malachi. He’s got a case under each arm plus a stock boy holding another for him. He’s fully invested in this trip, it looks like. See, Granny, I think this is the language we should use when describing things to potential business partners, stuff like “fully invested” and “proprietor” and “fiduciary.” Makes us seem more credible, like we have an office that isn’t in the garage of the house we no longer own. Or maybe we could shorten everything to just capital letters. Like, instead of “fully invested” we could say that Malachi is FI. We could say that I’m RTGGDUUSB instead of “ready to go and drum us up some business.” That’s how these people talk, Granny, these successful men. Study those acronyms I left for you.
     Malachi’s flashing his gap tooth at that weary clerk. I can see him doing it right there through the window, she’s got her back to me. It’s what he calls his “holy mouth,” Granny. Clerk’s probably looking at him with her eyebrow raised because she’s heard it all before from guys just as bad as Malachi. She’s blowing a big pink bubble with her gum until it snaps, I bet.
     Malachi claims he doesn’t want to hit the road. I know he will, though. He keeps mumbling shit about his Asian porn star in LA. The one he keeps watching online and tipping with the company credit card. He won’t let on but I know it’s because she reminds him of Amber and now he’s obsessed and “in love.” He may not care about our business, Granny. I don’t see him as exactly a staple in this company, anyway. He can go ahead and live in the Virgin Islands with a porn star if he wants and leave us all in his wake. It’s your son he resembles most. Piece of shit.
Eric Lloyd Blix is a fiction candidate in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he also teaches writing. He has work forthcoming in Birkensnake, Caketrain, and REAL. He lives in Minneapolis.