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Broken Rez
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[Ongoing story of two brothers, Merrill and James]

By the time I get home, I’m feeling sick about what I’m about to do with Jellie, but I got no choice. She’s left James out in the desert with some Indian chief and she’s not sure where that was. When I threw them out and changed the lock, I was sure that I had gotten rid of James’s mess for good. But now I got a lost brother and his sort of girlfriend.

And I’m looking at ruining the most important thing for me right now: my calm and boring life. Salvation for me. I’ve been calm and quiet, except for the games. My little life, they told me how to have one and I did it. And I stopped being a fiend, except for the gaming and everyone said that was okay.

I hear James’ truck drive up so I know Jellie’s prepared to go searching for him. That he’d given her the truck means something’s gone bad with him. He loves his truck and no one ever drove it except him. Especially Jellie who I know he wasn’t totally sure about.

I open the door before she gets to it. “Hey.”

She nods. I can see she’s not the happy light spirit she usually pretends to be. “Hey, I been trying to remember, I swear I have. I looked at the map but you know, I wasn’t really paying attention. And I…”

“Jellie, you gotta remember. We have no choice but to go trying to find him. He can’t call and he sure as shit can’t walk. So it’s on you.”

Now I’m hoping that the seriousness of the situation is on her. I don’t give a shit about her, but that doesn’t matter right now. She’s all I got. I open my phone. “Here, show me how far you remember. We can see the outlines of the rez. You gotta have some idea how far in you went, which road in. Not that many.”

I think the Indian chief that James claimed to get the permission from wouldn’t been telling him to come in some secret way, a secret road. Had to have been one that was watched. And someone had to have said that the guy in the truck was okay. There had to be someone with eyes.

I’m looking at the map. “Point to where you think you were. Jellie, we got only so much light.” It’s summer, but still we got night coming on quicker than not.

A moment later I get it. “Forget it. Let’s go.”

“Water, we need water.”

I guess there’s one thing useful about Jellie. I try to ignore how she smells. I try to ignore that she’s sort of a girlfriend to James.


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