"So?" by James Graham, (Continued)

"Hey Mom," the boy says toward the ground. 

The grass over the grave is pretty well grown in, with a few spots of brown clay poking through.  An iridescent green beetle crawls from underneath a dandelion leaf across the bare ground disappearing into a clump of taller grass.  The boy looks around at the windswept fields.

"How you doin'?" the boy continues.

"Me and some of the guys were going to go to the movies this afternoon."

He turns and looks back at the ground in front of him.

"I asked Dad if I could go."

He looks up at a wispy cloud floating under a jet contrail.

"He said to ask you."

A squirrel runs down the trunk of an Elm tree about thirty feet away.  It pauses and seems to be staring at the boy, its tail flicking.  It continues to scamper across some open grass and climbs atop a grave stone and surveys on its hind legs, its tail continuing to flick.

A crow flies across the road.  It caws two times as three starlings give chase.  The crow swerves left and right with one flap of its strong black wings then lands in the top of the oak tree unconcerned with the pestering.


The boy looks back down at the ground and kicks at a small dirt clod.  He looks at the writing on the grave stone.  A small smile appears on his face.


He turns and with a quicker step retrieves his bike.  He hops on and pedals back down the lane and under the iron trellis and out onto the country road.  The oil bubbles pop under the bike with a quicker rhythm now.

 The door to the boy's house swings open causing an air pressure change within.  The aluminum blinds in the kitchen rattle against the pane.  The boy walks into the living room.  His father's feet are still on the ottoman but have criss-crossed in the opposite way.  The boy looks at the television while standing next to his father.  A man on the screen reels in a largemouth bass and holds it up toward the camera.  The fish's mouth being stretched wide open as it hangs from the fisherman's thumb and index finger.  Its gills expand in and out as the fisherman grins.

"So?" the father says.

"She said I could go."

There is a pause.  The father takes a sip from a can of Coke and exhales with a small burp.

"Okay then."

The boy smiles and turns and begins to walk out of the room.

"Hey," the father calls out.


"She spoils you, ya' know."

The boy stops and keeps looking into the air ahead of him.

"I know."