A Surprise Arrival with Bright Lights (Ginger Man 18A)

Rick had been sleeping on the couch when someone began pounding on the door of his trailer. He rose slowly, still drunk.


He staggered to the door in the dark as whoever it was continued to pound and scream.

“Jesuf CHRIST what’s WRON’ with you, goddammit RICK–”

Rick almost fell onto the door. “All right, all right.” He pulled, headlights from a car parked immediately in front blaring into the open doorway. Rick staggered back, blinded.

“BUDDY!” Through the fog of his inebriated confusion, Rick was barely able to identify the voice of the person who was now barging into his trailer as Mike’s. “Git anyfin tah drink?” The body that animated the voice was staggering towards Rick’s fridge.

Rick turned away from the assaulting headlights, reached out blindly and found the back of a chair. He held the chair like a crutch. “Jesus . . . –”

“Was WRON’?” Rick sensed Mike (he was sure now it was Mike’s voice) was standing just in front of him. He opened his eyes, but the headlights burned into his eyes like boiling water on an open wound. “The door — close the door — ”

He heard something fall, sounded like a can, heard Mike’s voice swear, then walk with heavy footfalls over to the door, slam it closed. Rick opened his eyes, let them adjust to darkness. There was someone standing in front of him, he could not make out the features but he recognized the outline.


Mike fell to the floor, his body spasming with wild laughter. “Jesuf CHRIST you goddam bum you’re even more FRIGGIN’ drunk than I AM!” He picked up a can from the floor (Mike assumed it was what he’d heard fall earlier), stood up, and drank. The scent of dirty beer finally registered with Rick’s senses.

“Mike, what the hell you want.” Confusion was quickly giving way to anger.

“Say RICK!”


“You remember all them . . . them STORIES I used to write when we was KIDS?”

Rick thought a moment. “Yeah.”

“You GOT any of them just LYING around here?”


Mike pounced on him, putting an arm across the back of Rick’s shoulders. “You see, RICK BUDDY, I got this girl in the car with me, Mary Lou — ” the tone of his voice lowered, he sounded uncertain now — “don’ think she’s from around here — ” his bombastic tone returned — “ANWAY, I pick her up at Ronnie’s tonight. Started TELLING her about them STORIES I used to tell. Said I WROTE some of them down, and well you see she wants to SEE them.”

Mike released his grip from Rick, stepped back, drank quickly from the beer can. “So — you got any of them?”



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