Issue #4 |

Bright Young Things

After his wife’s death, Wilson called each of his sons once a week to check in—to say, I’m still alive. Don’t forget about me. In early December, his oldest son answered as if they were already in the middle of a conversation: “Look, Dad, I know it’s cruel but what are we supposed to do? Jason’s nineteen. We can’t reward him for refusing to behave like an adult.”

“I’m a little lost here,” Wilson said.

“Sorry, but he’s a fuck up. You guys spoiled him.”

Wilson’s youngest son was a constant source of worry: the boy used drugs of varying addictive and destructive qualities, and, according to his older brothers, had a distastefully immature habit of drinking until he blacked out. Wilson’s oldest son lived in Ohio with a wife and daughter, while his middle son and other daughter-in-law were settled smugly in California. Jason, on the other hand, had recently been fired from his job at a grocery store in Milwaukee where he stocked produce. His older brothers had refused to lend him money, knowing he’d never pay them back.

“Funnily enough,” Wilson said, “I’m in a pickle, too. I was fired. I might need some help.”

To read the rest of this story, please purchase a print copy of Story #4, Spring 2019

Brett Beach’s fiction has appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with his wife and children, and is at work on a novel.

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