You Want Ethos, I'll Give You Ethos


            “Joey’s two days dead and I’m trying to manipulate the situation to get laid.  What do you think of that?”  I took my hand from her hip and walked around her.  I came to stand inches from the glass and pressed my head against it, looking to the stars, and wondering where the moon was.

            “Well you didn’t think the kiss was too great because your mind is still elsewhere.  If sex is what you need then I thank you for the honesty.”  Katie came to stand behind me, wrapped her arms around my waist, and clasped her hands together just above my beltline.  She laid her check between my shoulder blades and continued “Nothing will take this from you but time.”

            “Do you mean the kiss or the death?   I won’t forget either of them probably for the entirety of my life.”  I set my hands upon hers as I continued to search the star speckled sky. 

            “You’re so sweet.   What’s on your mind?”

            “Joey shouldn’t have died alone” Katie began to speak but I cut her off “I should have been with him.  Or Dalton should have been or Shane or Josh, or all of us together would have been proper.  Honestly I’d feel much better about it if one of us had gone with him.  It seems fitting that way, it isn’t right for one to go.   How often are there not at least two of us together?”

            Katie removed her head from my back and with surprising force yanked me backwards off the glass and spun me around to face her.  I laughed when I almost tripped during the forceful exertion she executed on me, but a violent slap that left my cheek stinging and my eyes watering killed my amusement.

            “How selfish are you? “  There was fire in her cheeks and a dark storm raging in her eyes.  “You would have more of your friends killed so you could feel better or you wish on your own death and forget how two families, or three, would feel about burying their idiot immature sons that choose to kill themselves for fun’s sake.  I don’t think you’re strong anymore.  I think you’re cold and the possibility you asked me here for sex instead of help is very real to me now.” 

            “Woman!  How dare you?”  I couldn’t settle on what next to say.  I had called myself cold and uncaring countless times the past two days and to have it thrust upon me by the one I actually opened up to was degrading insulting and the fact that maybe Katie and I are right was frightening.  “You, you don’t know what I’m trying to say and you know less about what I’m trying to accomplish.”

            “Enlighten me.”  That’s all she said.  I thought but could not speak.  I had spoken rashly the moment before and she called me on it.  I looked at her, only briefly able to meet her gaze with my own, then turned back to my window of the still living but black unforgivable world.  I rested my forehead once again to the glass but could not look up, only down and I thought: Joey’s in hell, he had no relationship with Christ.  I cried.  Silent but with laborious breathing I wept, unable to contain the fright, considering what my late friend was possibly experiencing.   Katie touched my shoulder.  I shuddered.  The tremor ran entirely through me and I felt blood leaving my hands feet and face.  I felt as I tried so hard to appear at the viewing and funeral, cold.  Her touch could produce no warmth as she slides her hand from my shoulder to my wrist.

            Once again she wrapped her arms around me but did so in silence, mercifully allowing me to regain my composure.  It took only a moment and a couple quick brushes of my shirtsleeve to my eyes erasing the effects of bereavement.

            “I love to go out jogging right before night fall and I always take the same route.  I go out to the hard road and out the ridge top and by the time night has truly fallen I’m coming down from the ridge on that old dirt road right ahead of us.  There is a tremendous view of the house and all the fields when you’re coming down the hill on that nice straight road.  I walk down it instead of jog and I do so to take in all the fireflies as they do their stuff like they are now.  I always think of it as a battlefield and all the bursts of light are muzzle flashes as groups of combatants have at each other.  Combat, the struggle for life and supremacy, I start to envision rows of men about to die, like how they fought in the Civil War, and I place myself among their rows.  That’s what I’m thinking now.  My comrade caught a bullet, but I was elsewhere on the field of glory and I could do nothing but continue on towards the eventual bullet I’ll catch…  There must be 50,000 fireflies out there, 50,000 angry possibilities, and 50,000 inglorious ends.  Really all those bugs are trying to get laid and continue their species, but I compare them to killers.  And I did so before death became such a realization.  Katie, sex and death, one’s guaranteed and one’s a gift.  Those freaking bugs aren’t concerned with the guarantee only the gift.  Forgive me for bringing sex up again.”    

            “I forgive you.  You’re such a gentleman, you know that right?”

            “You’ve told me once or twice.”


Props to you for getting all of this down. I'm sure it's simultaneously excruiating and relieving.

This is very interesting. It sounds like an excerpt for a novel in a magazine. You should turn this into a book.

I love the metaphor in the part about the fireflies at the end. It's great stuff.

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    This page contains a single entry by guymiller88 published on October 7, 2010 8:38 PM.

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    • guymiller88: Thank you Bethany. How's the Europe Lit paper going? read more
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