'Big Hand'

Dustin Orin Talley

My brother, I call him Gordo, he's reading with his finger trolling the lines as he ashes his cigarette with the other hand. The clock above his head, the little hand is on the three. He's working third shift and I am here, smoking free cigarettes and walking around. My dad, he's at home asleep with his wife, my stepmother. So technically Gordo is my stepbrother, but whatever. We have almost four more hours to go and we're out of here. It was the same last night and just before the other dude who works here comes in, I'll go out and move the car around back and Gordo will throw the door open and I will pop the trunk and he'll throw two free twelve packs in the trunk and that'll be that. No one'll be the wiser.

For now though there is only the silence and I'm looking at my brother. It's a gossip magazine that he's reading, in case you were wondering. And the cigarettes, they're Basic Lights. No, ultra lights, the filter is white. His best friend smokes the same kind. His name is Adam and he has a great haircut with an awesome fade. Lines on the side of his head. Very cool. When my dad takes my stepmother to the lake on the weekends he comes over. Gordo and Adam hang out in the bathroom spraying hair spray and talking about other people in town. Smoking cigarettes. Laughing. I dance in the halls; Jesus Jones and Life is a Highway. Sometimes they close the door and turn the music up; I stop dancing. Adam comes by the store sometimes. It's pretty much the same scene when all three of us are together here. They talk and laugh and smoke and I walk the aisles, splitting my attention between Bryan Adams and what Cheryl Pinkosky did with Brad Whitmier.

The small hand is barely touching the five. Adam is not here and if he's not here by now then the chances are slim he'll be coming by at all. Did I mention how white his teeth are? Real white. There are no customers coming in now. Earlier a guy that Gordo goes to school with came in. I was at the other end of the store so it I didn't hear what was said but they were all laughing, except Gordo. He kept looking down. Forcing a smile. But that was way back at like two or something.We get a rush at about 1:30 by people making one last beer run before Gordo locks up the cooler doors and after that it's random people coming in for cigarettes or Coke. Maybe tampons.

I was in Gordo's room last week. I was looking for stamps (he always has that kind of stuff) and I knocked some papers off of his dresser. When I pulled the dresser out I found a picture under all of the papers. The picture, it was of Gordo standing naked in front of his closet door mirror. Naked. He is just standing there with a sucked in belly holding a camera. A flash in the mirror to his left. The hair around his dick, it's really short. More like a shadow really. I put the picture back and didn't say anything, my dad would make fun of him if he knew. Or maybe he woudn't. I don't care. The little hand is just past the six.

Someone has come in. He's a hunter. Got his orange vest on and a beard. Looks like an asshole. Filling his coffee cup up and I bet you he's going to buy some smokes. Yup. Somebody ought to tell him that he ain't gonna get a whitetail smelling like smoke. Genius. I 'm headed to the back to fill up the mop bucket so we can get the floor clean and get out of here. I always do this. Things get boring by this time of night. My eyes get funny now. Blurry. The small hand is almost to seven. I need to pull the car around back.

The clock, the one in the car, it reads 7:19. The till was off. Anyway, we have the windows cracked slightly. We're both smoking. The music is loud. “If you want to buy me flowers, just go ahead now.” I'm singing along but I keep getting the words wrong. Gordo laughs out loud. We're headed to Barb and Bill's. We do this every time I stay with Gordo on his third shift. Saturdays mostly. I don't know how Gordo met Barb and Bill, but I never protest. The beer, it's Zima. I love Zima. Other beer, the kind the hunters drink and my dad, it tastes like ass. Gordo don't like it either.

The living room at Barb and Bill's is smoky and they are sitting at the card table in the dining room. We don't even knock when we walk in. They always smile at us. Lisa, their daughter, younger than me, maybe thirteen, is sitting with them. She smokes Virginia Slims, same as her mom. I like Marlboros and sometimes have to bum one off of Bill who smokes them too. The Ouiji board is already out and Lisa is smiling at me as I sit down with two beers. Bill has whisky and Barb doesn't drink so I slide one over to Gordo and crack one open myself. Lisa has on an orange tank top with no bra. Her nipples are small and poke out. Bill whispers something in Gordo's ear, he smiles.

The one rule with Ouiji is never, never ask it when or how you will die because that is how or when you will die, even if it wasn't how or when you would have died before you asked. We all put our hands on the Ouiji and take turns asking it a question. Bill asks if he will get a certain bid that his construction company put in or if a hunting trip is worth it. With Gordo it's always something about the relationships of rockstars or supermodels. We kid him about it. My lips are getting numb, eyes fuzzy. I need another Zima. Barb always asks it when I am going to ask her daughter to marry me. Always. Lisa never asks anything. I try to imagine what she would ask, but can never figure anything out. Bill whispers to Gordo a lot during this game and Gordo always smiles. Barb always looks at the refrigerator. The little hand is just past the ten. It's Sunday. Sometimes if we all concentrate on a question hard enough we can lift our hands off of the Ouiji at the same time, slowly, and it will move by itself. This is what we're doing when Bill asks if the hunting trip he wants to take Gordo on will be a good one. We all lift our hands just centimeters off of the Ouiji. Lisa's small hand is still touching mine. Bill's big hand is on Gordo's. Barb stares at the ceiling and her eyes are shiny. The Ouiji creeps toward the “Yes”.