Monday, December 29, 2008

Plain Jane Let America Die by F. Scott Francisco

America was born on Independence Day 1976. He had a troubled childhood. His father, George Chevron Washington, was arrested for gun smuggling around the day of his birth. His mother, Janette "Plain Jane" Hancock, never told him the truth. Instead she explained that his father had been one of the last good men to die in prevention of The Communist Domination of Southeast Asia.

When Plain Jane stopped breast-feeding, America went on hunger strike, dumbly staring at the microwaved formula. Until she again nursed him naturally. At thirteen, armed with cobblestones picked from Lexington Market, he and his friends wildly ran the streets of Baltimore smashing car windows and stealing radios and hubcaps until they were caught, arrested, and taken to jail where they refused to call their parents for bail.

America did poorly in school for apparently inherent refusal to conform to its mannerisms. He left his year-late graduation early to get stoned with two fellow graduates.

Plain Jane blamed America's attitude on his father. She would write George Chevron the occasional letter to document their son's progress.

America woke the day after graduation, smoked a cigarette scratching his head and balls alternately, lay his head down, and fell back to sleep.

The following day he decided to sell drugs for a living, and did so without interruption for the next ten years. It was his calling: he'd plenty of charm and little fear.

On unrelated charges around the ten-year reunion at his high school, America began a one-year sentence.

For another five years he sold until he was shot and robbed clean by a favorite customer, Axle President. He lay dying for a day before Plain Jane made an unannounced visit and saw her son on the floor, perhaps fatally wounded.

She offered ice to him, drinks, home-cooked food, to change the television station: all in the hope of easing his pain, making him more comfortable--as if he had simply come down with a case of the flu. Plain Jane acted as if she didn't notice the blood trickling out of her boy into the carpet, as if everything were in perfect order.

Although she had come in her Toyota Camry, which her son had bought for her with ill-gotten gains, she did not offer a ride to the hospital to her son; and although she had one of the newest cellular phones available, she did not call emergency people.

America's last coherent thought was that she had perhaps hired the hit.

America's story came to a quiet end.

Plain Jane never spoke of him again, and when folks asked about her son, she acted confused, as if she had never spoken of him before.
And America was soon forgotten.

f. scott francisco (b. 1981/tampa bay), postal employee, writes occasionally. reads daily. he began submitting writing in 2008. e-mail or see his site at