Head on down the river
He wished again that he could have convinced John to go with him so someone could hold the shotgun while the other rowed. No sense worrying about that now. John had his own life now, his own worries; to him, Chad and Grandpa were yesterday’s family.
He thought back on the last time he saw the old man, smelling of booze and the river. He was more agitated than usual, ranting about the water. Chad had heard it so much he practically knew the speech by heart. He let him down another shot of scotch then helped him to bed.
When he woke Grandpa’s room and most of the gun cabinet was empty.
He followed the tracks all the way to the edge of the river, to the empty space where the old boat had been. His heart sank deeper into his body as he walked back to make a call and get the canoe out of the garage.
He knifed the paddle into the water on alternating sides of the old canoe and after a long while started to relax.
Then the paddle struck something. Please let it be a gator, he thought.