Appalachian: Hope Chapter 19

“I really can’t believe we gotta say goodbye to this place.” I dropped a box of Daniel’s clothes near the door. “If you keep moving around, you’re gonna have to get a new mover.”

Daniel laughed “Yeah, well it’s time to move on I guess.”

Daniel was right. The trailer had outstayed its welcome, and a lot had changed during the year that Daniel, Kenny, and Alicia lived there. Kenny still wasn’t working, but Alicia had gotten a lucrative job at the nursing home. It required her to work swing shifts, and her new schedule made her tire of our noise, rabble, and bullshit pretty quickly. Kenny was the unfortunate middle man, always running interference between Daniel and Alicia. The reality was that Alicia was now able to rent a place for Kenny and her to stay without Daniel’s destabilizing presence. Kenny and Alicia needed space more than they needed Daniel’s money.

There were times during that year where we were unsure that Kenny and Alicia would remain a couple. Working at the nursing home had a strange effect on Alicia’s psyche. Kenny never shared the details with us, but when we came in for the night one evening, Kenny had dumped all the stolen 7/11 liquor bottles down the sink. Alicia was passed out cold in the bedroom. Her shirt was stained with vomit. We all took turns yelling at Kenny for dumping the liquor out instead of giving it to one of us to hide. Alicia complained constantly about Daniel. His room stank of cigarette smoke. He was unhygienic. He kept weed in the house. The trailer had a revolving door of ne’er do well guests. Daniel strained an already troubled relationship.

But they had signed a lease for the year, and Alicia and Kenny needed time to find a place of their own. Daniel didn’t fight them. Kenny and Daniel’s relationship soured quickly in the final months of their time living together. The two of them were always fighting. Kenny and Daniel both stayed in their rooms, only going to the kitchen to prepare meals. When we had parties at the trailer, tension filled the air. People drew up battle lines like they always do. Some sided with Kenny and some with Daniel. But the tensions never erupted into anything more than discussion and gossip. Daniel knew he couldn’t win a fist fight with Kenny, but Daniel knew how to push him to a gentle boil before walking away.

“We’ll take ya, old boy.” Del patted Daniel on the back. “We are gonna have some good times.” There was a knowing in Del’s voice that I didn’t like. Everyone knew Del and Gray were addicted to pills. It was an open secret. No one discussed it.

Del and Gray had a trailer on the north side of the hollow, down over a hill, and back in the woods. They had lots of privacy, and lots of land. What the pair never seemed to have was money. Del and Gray’s pops owned the trailer and paid the utilities, but Daniel would be paying rent for a room in the trailer. They never shared the amount, but I knew Daniel would pay just about anything to not have to live at home.

“”Well,” Kenny stormed in through the open front door. “Looks like we aren’t getting the security deposit back.”

“What?” Daniel shrieked, “That’s two hundred fifty dollars. He can’t just keep it.”

“That’s what I said, but he came in for an inspection when we weren’t here. He reamed by ass about the cigarette burns in your carpet. Said he needed the security deposit for replacement.”

“That’s bullshit. Those burn marks were there when we moved in.”

“Well.” Kenny put his hands on his hips and looked at the floor, “we can’t prove it can we.” Kenny knew as well as I did that Daniel caused those cigarette burns.

There was a long silence before Del finally spoke, “we could trash the place.” He jumped up and ran back toward Kenny’s bedroom, yelling “I got an idea,” over his shoulder.

“I mean, I’m not sure we should trash the place.” Kenny looked about nervously.

“Fuck that guy, he was a major asshole.” Daniel eyed the baseball bat that rested in the corner next to the door.

We heard shuffling in Kenny’s bedroom, and then Del shouted “Fire in the hole.”

“I don’t like the sound of that.” Kenny groaned. Some object blurred by just in front of us and smacked into the wall where it stuck into the paneling.

“Jesus Del,” Kenny yelled. “What the hell are you trying to do?”

Steven, Danny, and I walked to the hole in the wall. Steven plucked a AA battery from the round hole. We all screamed with laughter when Del emerged from the bathroom with a slightly modified BB gun.

“Man, I forgot about that thing.” Kenny relaxed a bit and allowed himself a chuckle.

“Who knew it could fire batteries?” Steven handed the ammunition back to Del.

“It can’t really fire them too good on its own.” Del slid the battery down the barrel, pumped the BB gun and pulled the trigger. The battery flopped to the floor just after leaving the barrel. “But if you help it a little,” Del reloaded the battery and swung his arms back and forth. By combining a throwing motion with the pull of the trigger, Del catapulted the battery across the room with frightening force. This time the battery struck the wall upright, and a perfect battery shaped hole appeared in the paneling.

“I wanna try.” Steven took the rifle. “Do we have any more batteries?”

We all took turns shooting at the walls and laughing. Kenny even joined in on the fun. After the last batteries were lost and the last of Daniel, Kenny, and Alicia’s possessions were loaded into the cars, Kenny brought out a six pack hidden in the fridge. We sat in a circle on the floor, with an ash tray in the center, telling stories and talking shit until it was time to leave.

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