Short Story: Big News About a Kid We Nearly Remember

"Hey, you remember that kid we went to school with?"

"Which school?  High school?"

"Yeah, y'know the one, that guy that was in our group from year nine to year twelve."

"You might have to give me more info.  That's not a lot to go on."

"Right.  Um...he had red hair, had a sister who pronounced her name the way it was spelt..."

"Sib-ohn!"

"That's the one!"

"She was cute.  I couldn't date a Siobhan who mispronounced her own name though."

"I didn't know you nearly dated her."

"I didn't.  I'm just sayin'..."

"Yeah.  I get that.  Not her fault though.  I blame the parents."

"So what was her brother's name?"

"I can't remember.  Johnny?"

"Jimmy!  Jimmy Stanza!"

"No, Jimmy Stanza was the poetry kid."

"Oh yeah.  What happened to Jimmy?"

"He married that model from season 3 of the Bachelorette."

"Jimmy Stanza was on the Bachelorette?"

"Nah, he just married the model after she made it to the last four.  It was in the papers."

"Which papers?"

"The Advertiser."

"Fucking Adelaide, must have been a slow news day."

"In Adelaide?  No!"

High five.

"Y'know Stanza wasn't his last name?"

"Of course.  He got stuck with that name after Big Pat found his book of poetry."

"Big Pat.  The meanest kid at Woody High."

"He wasn't that mean.  He was quite sweet deep down."

"You used to smoke with him up the back of the oval, right?"

"Right.  Me, Big Pat, Sleazy Eddie and Sarah Beaumont."

"Sarah Beaumont!  Shit.  I haven't thought of her in a long time.  Cook kid.  Was into the Violent Femmes, They Might Be Giants.  She knew about the Pixies before anyone else."

"I got, I got a broken face..."

Together:  "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. oooo!"

"Fuck me the Pixies."

"The Pixies.  What happened to Sarah?"

"She's an artist, sells stuff at Urban Cow."

"Of course she is.  Cool chick then."

"Cool chick now."

"Yeah."

"Anyway, remember that kid that came to our school, with the red hair, was only around for a little while..."

"Did he play cricket?"

"Yes!  Really good at it too.  Came from a broken home..."

"His Mum was a recovering alcoholic, his dad was in gaol for something..."

"Murder.  He murdered his brother."

"Fuck, that's right.  How did I forget that?"

"Yeah, poor bastard.  Nice kid.  Really funny.  Had real pace when he bowled."

"Yes.  Fuck, I can't think of his name."

"It will come to us.  Anyway, what about him?"

"I just heard from Arthur that he's dead."

"What?"

"Yeah, he died."

"Fuck.  What happened?"

"Cancer."

"Fucking cancer.  Fuck cancer."

"Yeah."

"Poor kid.  Pretty stressful life."

"I know.  I hope he had some happiness."

"Yeah.  I heard from Anita that he did okay for a while there."

"Anita?  Gosh, I loved Anita so much."

"Really?  She's married with three kids now."

"Ha.  Anita."

"Anyway, cancer."

"Shit.  That's the worst.  Poor bastard."

"Hey, I better go.  I have to pick up the kids."

"No problem.  I better go too.  I've got little Tex this weekend so I should prepare the house, get rid of the bong etc.  His Mum doesn't approve."

"Sure.  Catch up again soon."

"Definitely.  Good to see you man."

"Good to see you...Jessie!"

"Jessie!  That's right.  How could we forget Jessie?"

"Yeah, poor Jessie.  Good kid.  Anyway, I better run."

"Me too.  Catch you soon."

They shake hands.

The leave in opposite directions and mutter to themselves:

"Jessie."

 

Copyright Justin Hamilton 2017