The Seer (Chapter 10) - Poem by Kim Barney
When I walked up to the house, Charlie's dad was loading boxes into the U-Haul truck. The family car was still missing.
Where's Charlie? I asked.
Charlie's dad had apparently not heard me walk up. He jumped like he had been stuck with a pin and almost dropped the box he was lifting. The look on his face was like a small boy who had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
The look didn't last long. Almost instantly it turned to anger. What's the big idea sneaking up on a person like that? He bellowed. You almost scared me to death!
I only asked where Charlie was, I said. I wanted to add that I wasn't sneaking, either, but the less said to Charlie's dad when he was angry, the better.
Charlie's gone to visit his cousin in Connecticut, he said.
Charlie's never mentioned a cousin, I ventured.
There's probably a lot of things Charlie has never mentioned to you, Wise Guy. He doesn't tell you everything, does he?
No, but … How long will he be gone? (I wanted to mention the fact that Charlie and I were supposed to go fishing this morning, but something told me not to bring that up.)
Three or four weeks. Now get out of here and leave me alone. I got work to do!
I almost didn't dare ask it, but I had to. Are you moving?
Naw. I just gotta haul these boxes up to Boise for my boss.
Please, could I have Charlie's address in Connecticut? I really want to write to him.
Look, Kid, I can't get it for you right now. I'll be back day after tomorrow and you can have it then. All right? Now scram!
O.K., I said, and beat a hasty retreat. I had a really bad feeling about all this. Somehow, I just knew that Charlie's dad was lying.
The next day I was talking to Eddie and mentioned that Charlie had gone to visit his cousin and wouldn't be back for several weeks.
Eddie gave me a strange look. Charlie doesn't have any cousins, he said. Neither his mom nor his dad has any brothers or sisters.
My feeling of despair deepened. It only increased when I happened to run into Charlie's dad's boss in the drugstore that afternoon and mentioned the stuff that Charlie's dad was hauling to Boise.
What are you talking about? He asked. He's not hauling anything for me. That turkey called in sick yesterday and today he just didn't show up. Didn't even call today.
I decided it was time to call the police, if we had had any. We didn't, so I called the county sheriff instead. When Charlie's dad didn't return in the two days he said he would be gone, the sheriff got a search warrant for the house.
Traces of blood were found in the bathroom and master bedroom. Some of the furniture was gone, but not all. It was obvious that the house had been abandoned in a hurry.
Charlie's dad had told the U-Haul people that he would turn the truck in at St. Paul, Minnesota, but it was never turned back in. U-Haul still doesn't know whatever happened to their truck.
The next summer, a spear-fisherman found the family car in the deepest part of Fish Lake, about forty miles or so from the family home. There were no bodies inside.
More than two years later, no one has ever reported seeing Charlie or any member of his family again. Did his dad get away with murder and live peacefully in seclusion somewhere? Did he go to some remote area in the Canadian wilderness and commit suicide? Or get eaten by a grizzly bear? Did the loan sharks catch up with him in spite of his efforts to get away? I wish I knew.
And where is Charlie? In my heart I feel he must be gone, or he would have contacted me.
But I can't stop hoping that some day I will see him again.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Just find chapter 01, read it and then click the 'next poem' button, which will get you the next chapter.
This is a work of fiction.
Charlie did not exist. His father and mother did not exist. Eddie is also a fictional character.
Many of the people mentioned in the earlier chapters were real people, however.
The places mentioned are real places.
The grizzly bear in the picture is real.
This chapter was written in Kaysville, Utah on 08 November 2015, and revised 24 March 2016.
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