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A Swift and Victorious Skirmish Against the Cashtruthian Philosophy (standard:other, 1465 words)
Author: kupecz99Added: Oct 03 2000Views/Reads: 3296/1999Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Sally's folks are dead and "Uncle Nick" is a fool, but he saves Saly's life when she needs it.

Sally could hear soft noises of him down the hall,  shuffling back and
forth a bit then the groaning creak of the  bed.  He must be taking a 
nap, poor guy.  She'd always called  him Uncle Nick though he wasn't 
any kind of relative, only a  boyhood friend of her father's.  Long as 
she could remember he  was always over to the house a couple of times a 
week and he  always took the time to make her laugh.  She was Sally to  
everybody but him, who always called her Sarah or Babe. 

She was really sad when he took a job out of town two  or three years
ago when she was what?  9?  11?  Not just sad  for herself, but for him 
who had no wife and no children of  his own.  The family had a big 
dinner in the afternoon like  Christmas or Thanksgiving although it was 
hot summer, and they  all cried when he drove off, his car packed up to 
the roof  with stuff.  Since then, they'd only seen him a couple of  
times a year. 

The house was so quiet now after all the people, so empty, and Nick felt
empty and sad also.  He was going to  change but when he sat down on 
the old sprung bed in the dark  little spare room he said "Fuck it."  
It was OK just to sit  there in the quietness, like a tree growing in 
the middle of  the woods as if his whole life was there and would be 
till he  keeled over.  Then it passed. 

He threw his few pieces of laundry into the open  suitcase, took his
wallet back off the dresser and left.  His  heart jumped when he came 
to Sarah's open door and there she  was, looking so...  half-grown, 
standing in all the pinkness  and flounces with streaming sunlight 
rubbing her pale round  face till her cheeks were red and igniting the 
blonde hair  that fell over her forehead like a boy's. 

"Hi, Uncle Nick," she said.  For a man he was not very  big, hardly
taller than her and hardly any heavier -- who had  always seemed so big 
and solid to her.  He looked little and  old this morning, like an 
old-country man in his black suit  and the soiled white shirt, his thin 
face creased up and down  like a used, folded newspaper.  She realized 
he was getting  old, there were gray strands in his black wiry hair.  
And he  looked like a surprised thief, unsure, rattled. 

"Sarah."  He said.  "I thought you went over to your  Aunt Mary's."  She
mumbled something, looking down at the  floor.  "What?" he said. 

Then she noticed the suitcase in his hand and looked  back at him with
sullen, burning, defiant eyes, her mouth set  in an imitation smile. 

"No," she said, "I'm here." 

"You should go, Babe.  Come on, I'll drop you off.  It'll cheer you up."

"I'm fine," she said, "I'm fine here. 

"It's all bull, anyway.  Cheer me up.  Right.  Let's  have another drink
and pretend everything's normal," then she  couldn't stop; the words 
came spurting out of her, clear and  hot,  "they all sit around and lie 
and pretend to be sad.  And  pretend to care.  And all they want is to 
get back to their  cozy little life... and their GOD DAMN FOOTBALL 
GAME... and  their shopping... What bull."  She saw that he was little 
and  weak.  A very ordinary man.  "And you can sneak away.  Where  are 
you going anyway?  Didn't you ever notice that funeral  starts with 
F... U... N...?  Why don't you stay for the fun?"  He turned away into 
the hall. 

"I meant to say 'take your mind off of it,' or  something like that. 
The words just came out," he said,  thinking about something else, he 
didn't know what, and  started to walk away.  He was already so sad.  
It stung him  that she could sound hard and mean, practicing to be an 
adult,  trying to be like so many people he tried to stay away from,  
even though it made his life lonely.  He thought his life was  going to 
be lonelier now than it had been before. 

He stopped right there with the suitcase hanging from  the end of his
arm and spoke without turning back to her.  "I  just realized something 
I didn't understand before," he said,  not speaking up, more or less 
not even speaking to her.  "You  have to practice what you know."  He 
grunted in assent to  that, "If you keep pretending things are 

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