Richard Childers

Narrow Road to Somewhere


            John Wayne is on TV trying to save Mattie Ross from a pit of rattlesnakes without getting bit himself. I’ve been sitting on the couch smoking cigarettes and watching westerns for God knows how long. My wife drags in from walking holes in the factory floor and only has one thing to say to me.

            “Hilde’s laying down there in the road dead.”

            Hilde is our beagle. Hilde’s been around almost as long as we’ve been married. She’s been deaf for about 3 years and always loved taking a nap in the middle of the road. I knew it was only a matter of time before some punk or an old drunk came around the curve a little too fast. My wife has already headed to the back of the house to start a load of laundry before I can muster a response. I slide another Marlboro out and light it up.

            If I had to guess I’d say my wife started doing laundry around the same time I started watching westerns. She used to come out and rattle off about going places and doing things, but she finally gave up. Her and the kids always moaned about how dark it was in here. I used to try to argue with them, but I stopped. No matter how hard that sun beats down these cedar walls have a way of swallowing rays of sunshine. The entire house could use a good dusting. No matter what room we walk into, cobwebs hang from the ceiling and a thick layer of dust suffocates the furniture. I’m too busy watching westerns and smoking cigarettes to do any cleaning. My wife has a lot of laundry to do.

            John Wayne and Mattie Ross have crawled up out of the snake pit, but Mattie Ross is bitten. John Wayne will have to ride like hell to save her. Here in about 5 minutes another cowboy will try to save the day, but right now I have a dead beagle to scrape off the road.


Richard Childers grew up in Estill County, Kentucky before coming to Berea College to study creative writing. He has stories published in Limestone Journal and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. Richard graduated from Berea College in 2016 and is now currently working for Berea as an Admissions Representative.


return to fiction              home