Gerry Harlan Brown
Gerry Harlan Brown has spent most of his life in the Bowling Green, Kentucky area. Stints at a factory, a farm, and painting houses have been mixed in with periods as a railroader, a volunteer community crisis counselor, and a professional fire chief. Along the way he acquired an AA degree and took several leadership courses at the University of Virginia and the National Fire Academy. His 29 years in the fire service have influenced his writing more than anything else, for during that period he dealt with people at their best and bravest, as well as their most devastated and petty. His opportunities to wrestle monsters have included—as ludicrous as it may seem—squirrels, white and otherwise
Ring the Bell
The courage to walk into the flames.
The knowledge to come out when the job’s done.
The memory arrived unbidden, just suddenly there, sharp as broken glass. The child had come to him again, as she had countless times since the first awful midnight years ago. His mouth opened. His lips moved, soundlessly screaming, No! No!
Virginia read about the tragedy in the paper the day after it happened. There was a house fire. A child climbed out a window onto a porch roof. The firefighters were almost to her, but something burning fell from above and knocked her tumbling to the ground. The little girl died instantly.
True to his nature, Wayne had come home from the department the next morning and not said a word about the call. That night, as they lay in bed, Virginia finally brought up the article in the paper. Knowing she was violating their unspoken rule, she asked, “Were you there?”
Virginia felt him shudder. He replied with a simple, “Yes.” Heavy minutes crawled by before he added, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
As Wayne was leaving for his next shift after the fire, he stopped in the doorway and turned back to face her.
“You should know,” he said, “it will not happen again.” The determination in his voice frightened her. “Next time I’ll get that baby, or I won’t be coming home.”
Also by Gerry Harlan Brown
and other monsters
Kin Patterson is One Sorry Individual.
He sorry he is the last Patterson; sorry that at 27 years of age all he has to show for his life is failure; sorry that the best part of any day is getting plastered with the other pitiful excuses he calls friends.
It’s no wonder his wife left him. It’s no wonder he’s facing bankruptcy.
So, when word comes that a 90-year-old great-uncle he has never met wishes to meet with his sole heir, it’s no wonder that Kin imagines a fat inheritance that will be the answer to all his woes. He immediately travels to the old family home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. To Kin’s deep disappointment, he discovers Uncle Woody is not near death, nor is he senile or feeble. He is still sharp, and as Kin painfully discovers, still able to work his BB gun, for Woody shoots him at first sight.Having dealt with his own ration of strife, Woody doesn’t care to cut Kin any slack. Neither does Moby, a white squirrel that declares war on both men.
A terrific read. Funny and poignant at the same time.