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Kingdom Come
by Ron Gibson, Jr.


Rita was summer. She wasn’t sunny, bright, or anything nostalgic like that. It just so happens my girlfriends began and ended with the seasons. It wasn’t something I planned. In the end it always just worked out that way. It was as if I were repeating an ancient, internal cycle inherited from some farmer ancestor, except I substituted girls for crops. So, as you can imagine, I’ve been cited for being an irresponsible male with a fuck-‘em-and-leave-‘em attitude. People just don’t understand; when my body said plant rhubarb, I accidentally planted Rita.

She would call me up late after work, if her parents went out to the casino on the Indian reservation to get drunk and lose money, and ask me over. More times than not, no matter how tired I was, I would oblige. You could say it was the farmer’s constitution toward hard work in me, but I suppose you wouldn’t.

Rita lived in a trailer park called The Pines. It was a scuzzy little piece of oil-contaminated land on the edge of town, next to the railroad tracks. The owner planted a six foot hedge made up of artificial Christmas trees in the front of the trailer park to keep the allusion of pines and to hide the eyesore from bystanders. It fit in perfectly with the overall theme of cheap and shitty.

Every time I made the turn from the street, driving past the false façade, the trailer park would open before me like a piece of rotting fruit. My headlights would sweep across assorted garbage, rusted car carcasses, half-starved cats and dogs; my shocks taking a beating from rolling up and down two foot potholes and mud puddles, until my beams caught on The King.

Nobody knew his real name, age, or anything about him. All anyone knew was that The King looked like he was ready to pop with gout. He would seemingly sit all day and night on his rain-warped front porch, that sagged under his weight, silently watching everybody come and go.

When I would reach Rita’s trailer; her silhouette standing in the doorway like a sexy photographic negative, I couldn’t shake the thought of The King’s dark pig eyes shrinking under my headlights back into his pie face. It was like he had an omnipresence over the entire trailer park, even though he would never leave his one spot. Sometimes it took hours of watching tv or Rita practicing her striptease to upbeat Madonna tunes – (she planned on stripping at Déjà Vu when she turned eighteen) – before I was able to relax, forget The King, and perform the nightly deeds.

When I would leave, I would be sure to always honk and flip off The King just because of the mental disturbance his presence caused me. But he never budged or said a bad word in response. He just silently watched me go, as if to say, "I’ll be here when you come back. I’m The King. Get used to it."

But I never did get used to it. Every time Rita’s parents got another paycheck to handover to the Indians and I was summoned over, those dark eyes were there to greet me. Rita began to think I had another girl or was suffering from the beginning stages of some sexual dysfunction. But there was no other girl; summer wasn’t due to end for another month. And normally my libido was like an attack dog; it raged on command.

The next month crawled along like it would never end. Rita only called me over twice, but those two times were tedious as funerals. She sat me down to read excerpts from her diary about how she hated her parents, the trailer park, life, and basically me for not treating her right or desiring her enough. Typical teenage ramblings. She cried long enough to where The King left my brain, again, and I fucked her back to her false sense of happiness.

The days were growing shorter and you could feel the change beginning to take root in the air. The sunset was cresting over the horizon, down into the valley, like a final napalm wave, when Rita called. I knew it would be the last time I would see her, but I never let on.

I pulled into The Pines expecting The King to once again rain on my parade, but he was nowhere to be seen. Only his bent, metal chair sat empty like a monument.

Without the disturbance of The King, Rita didn’t know what had gotten into me. She acted as if my revived libido was the confirmation of her self-worth; that she was an empty shell until I fulfilled her. I wanted to say, "You’ll always be empty and alone, just like me and everyone else forever on," but I didn’t have the heart.

We laid there, sharing dying moments, when we noticed red lights strobing against her curtained window. She peeked out, blanket wrapped around her, and said that there was a fire engine and an ambulance outside.

We both got dressed and joined the rest of the trailer park residents. They all had come out of their foil-covered-windowed trailers, reeking of meth and ganja, and stood around the flashing lights in the night.

Besides the fire engine’s motor continually sighing, the crowd mumbled and whispered amongst itself like a secretive, incestuous family reunion. It wasn’t until Rita inquired that we were let in on the gossip.

Apparently The King died on the toilet, reading the National Enquirer. The fire engine had to use the jaws of life to pry open the corner of the trailer and it supposedly took ten men to strap his dead body to two stretchers, side by side.

Even as the ambulance lumbered away, backend bottoming out, sparking on concrete, everyone stood motionless. It didn’t seem to be a sadness, more than the shock of losing what was familiar that had kept them gathered outside. The King was dead, and I could feel fall seeping into the night, calling me back to plant another seed in another field for another season. I whispered a shoddy excuse to Rita, that her parents may soon return from the casino, and left her standing there.

During my last look back in the rearview mirror at the gathered residents of The Pines, I knew I wasn’t the only one that wondered if the EMT’s wiped The King’s ass before they hauled him away. We weren’t to blame; we were all just human.




About the Author


Ron once was commissioned by Jacques Chirac to build an Inukshuk because he had claimed he was descended from Nanook of the North, caught a biologically altered virus in a Chechen rebel encampment, word associates satori with Christina Ricci's crotch, pedals a Big Wheel along the interstate, hits people and unsuccessfully claims he has refuted idealism thus, and has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Suspect Thoughts, Driver's Side Airbag, etc.