A book, unwritten

by CT Liotta

Someday, I’ll finish this story, but until I do, here’s the opening.

A man and his 14-year-old granddaughter looked over a lake from the end of a pier in Lewis County, West Virginia. It was late September and cool, and the wooden pillars cast long shadows that ran parallel to a trail of black skid marks. The marks continued past where the old man stood, but seemed inconsequential to him as he studied the shoreline on the opposite side.

Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli

“Tell me again, granddaughter. Where’s my King James Bible? The one with my family tree on the pages in the front?”

The girl looked over the water with the old man. “It’s beside your shotgun,” she said, flatly.

The man harrumphed and spat toward some flotsam, where a rotted pier ladder had been ripped from its mountings. He did not look over. “And where is my shotgun?”

“In yer truck,” answered the girl.

The man deliberated on the words. “And, to be clear, where is my truck?”

“It’s in the lake,” the girl said, scratching the back of her head, “Prolly at the bottom, by now.”

The old man put weathered hands into the pockets of his field jacket and looked over. “Why is my truck at the bottom of the lake?”

“Cuz old man Tinny’s boys was chasin’ me on their dirt bikes. They only had knives, and they can’t swim.”

The old man turned and began walking back toward land as he lit a pipe. “Good thinkin’,” he said, waving out his match, “though I’m gonna miss that Bible. Mah dresser’s gonna have a wobble to it, now, and the new phone book don’t come in ’til April.”