The Quarry — Chapter 1 (short story 1/3)

Happy New Year.

It’s a new year, 2022, and I need to push myself, expand, write fiction and quasi-fiction. Not just sports and social commentary. Parts of the following story are true. Some of the names have been changed.

The Quarry

Jacob Rose was probably incest. I’m not sure how that sentence works. I know that’s how we said it as kids, but it’s such a strange situation, that its usage is rare. He didn’t have incestuous relations with his sister, although it could have been possible (probably was possible) but it seemed that he and his dimwitted sister were phenotypically the result of incest. That’s how the sentence goes.

None of us ever saw the Rose parents, but we imagined someone was missing a limb or had webbed fingers. Jacob had a gaunt, vacant look that visually quantified the few genes in his DNA, so surely his parents were also vacant vessels of flesh but at least their circulatory systems worked and reproductive systems. Dumb people find each other and have even dumber kids, but this was something else. When Jacob Rose spoke only air came out. His mouth would open, but the words did not spill out, just noises.

He was a real terror when we were younger. Kids that can’t communicate with words often speak with their fists, and Rose didn’t seem to have any reservations about inflicting harm on others. It was the closest thing a 10-year-old gets to Frankenstein.

As we grew up and our brains developed. Jacob’s did not. We were no longer afraid of him because he was retarded, but we did not feel sorry for him because he had terrorized us when we were younger. He dissolved into the background of our lives and was only remembered occasionally when we saw him making tacos at the combination KFC-Taco Bell (if someone is reading this in the distant future, then yes, they did exist and yes, they were amazing).

So when we heard that Abe choke slammed Jacob off the quarry and Jacob died, we couldn’t help but laugh. Jacob was a bad kid, but he couldn’t help it. We didn’t laugh because he deserved it. We laughed because who is choke slammed to death and who is choke slammed to death at the quarry, off the quarry, by a homeless middle-eastern man that works part time at the combination KFC-Taco Bell? What were those two doing at the quarry? Why wasn’t there any sort of investigation? Was he just floating dead in the water? His gangly, pale, malformed body covered by a soaking wet oversized Taco Bell button up (it was cheaper for the franchisee to buy all XXLs than to have smalls and mediums sitting in storage next to the seafood salad taco bowls that were discontinued but would occasionally appear during lent for the two catholic families in town).

I’m not sure why Taco Bell won out in terms of uniform selection. The combination KFC-Taco Bell did not have has split uniforms. They were not NASCAR drivers bespeckled in corporate logos. I suppose, that because the Taco Bell was added later, they procured uniforms as a part of the deal, and ditched the old red and white pinstriped KFC outfits. This is probably too rational of an explanation. I would not be surprised to find out that the Taco Bell uniforms were the result of Tubby Smith winning the NCAA Basketball Championship in 1998 and Ohio franchises wanting to separate from Kentucky despite Ohio State missing the tournament completely by finishing 8-22, and 1-15 in the Big 10. The next year they cheated and went to the Final Four. Still, the sting was there, and a complete uniform overhaul had to happen all across the state, except for Harbor View, Ohio on the banks of Lake Erie and within spitting distance of Michigan. The combination KFC-Taco Bell conspicuously sat a quarter-mile from the Yacht Club, and the uppity members were Michigan fans, so a uniform change was not necessary.

Jacob Rose was a gangly looking teenager with white hair. He and his sister looked like cats in the face. If the school ever had a Lion King play, they wouldn’t need makeup. They would need large print cue cards, but they couldn’t read, so that wouldn’t help much. They could probably be background lions that add to the ambiance, but a speaking or singing role might be asking too much.

Apparently Jacob owed Abe money. How Abe ever had the money to loan Jacob or that Abe loaned money to Jacob was amazing. With minimum wage being $5 in the late 90s, and if one were inclined to save that type of money, then one would be perturbed by a deadbeat borrower. Enough to chokeslam someone off a 100-foot cliff? Honor killings are a thing in the Middle East, but I’m not even sure Abe was middle-eastern. I’m not 100% sure that was his name. It could have easily been a used combination KFC-Taco Bell name tag.

“What’s your name? Jeff? Oh, Geoff with a G. Not sure we have one of those. Don’t even think we have a Jeff. How about Abe. You look like an Abe?” The combination KFC-Taco Bell manager pulls the name tag from an old cardboard box with faded print on the side that reads “seafood salad taco bowls”, and tosses Geoff the nametag.

Thirty years earlier, my uncle and dad nearly died in that same quarry. It wasn’t over tacos. No one in southern Ohio knew anything about tacos. They were from Kentucky, and knew fried chicken, but Kentucky Fried Chicken was not a thing either. Their brush with death was not fast food related, but like most quarry deaths, their near death directly correlated with the intelligence of quarry goers.

To be continued tomorrow in chapter 2….