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Today's Story by Caitlin Myer

Your name is Brother Watson, you’re my friend Jane’s father.

Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 37

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first serialized novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remainscan be found in full here

Our current novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on the life of Alice Lott, a twelve-year-old girl  who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her junior high school counselor. 

Find earlier chapters in Hoodoo here.

Chapter 37

“Alice. Alice.”

Bobby was crouching next to me. I wanted to spit in his face.

“Fuck off,” I said. It came out lopsided, all the weight on fuck, a word I hadn’t said since I was little and didn’t know what it meant. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. “You should have known better. You should have known about this.”

Bobby put a hand on my shoulder and I shook him off. I gulped in a breath. The Academy would kick me out now for sure, they were just looking for an excuse. What was I thinking? I’d come all this way for nothing. Nothing.

“Get me out of here,” I said.

“Are you okay?” Bobby was still hunkered down next to me, his eyes big with worry.

“Take me home, now.”

I looked at my hands, bleeding, pieces of blacktop stuck in the skin, put one down again to push myself up, but my left foot didn’t hold my weight and I sat down hard.

“Shit. Fuck. I sprained my ankle.”

I let him put an arm around me to help me up, and the line of people waiting parted to let us through.

“Hey,” I turned around in Bobby’s arms to look at all the happy couples winding out into the parking lot. “Hey!” I shouted, and several faces turned to look at me. “Happy fucking wedding,” I yelled, as Bobby loaded me into the passenger seat. I couldn’t focus, my thoughts spinning around in my brain like a merry-go-round. Everything was wrong, everything was fucked up. I felt it building in my stomach, ready to come out as a sob and I covered my mouth, but it kept leaking out, only I was laughing. I sat in the car, my hands fisted over my mouth, laughing like the end of the world. Bobby climbed in behind the steering wheel, started the car, and got us out of there.

I couldn’t stop laughing, bent over myself in the passenger seat, I could see all the lights going by, shining into the car all around me but I couldn’t look up, I was swallowing swords of laughter, choking down one after another, all the blood in my face, I couldn’t take a breath until it was all out of me, Vegas already behind us, we were on the freeway again, deep in the desert, until I was empty as a used Dixie cup, breathing in, bent over, my face on my knees, I didn’t want to be with anyone right now.

I heard Bobby shift in the seat next to me.


“Shut up.”

And he did. He shut up, all the way back to Salt Lake, he stood on the gas and we charged home as fast as his little car could take us.


I didn’t say another word until Bobby turned off the exit to downtown Salt Lake.

“Okay. I can’t get up the steps to the dorm by myself, so you’re going to have to help me. The night resident will probably still be up, since I haven’t checked in. Your name is Brother Watson, you’re my friend Jane’s father. I was out hiking with Jane in the canyon when I fell and sprained my ankle, that’s why I’m so late. It was just Jane and me and she had to help me all the way back down the trail.”

Bobby nodded, his eyes shining, and pulled up in front of the dorm, then came around to help me out.

“Remember, you’re Brother Watson.”

All the lights were on in the lobby when we walked in, I squinted in the bright, the resident in her robe jumped at us like she’d been waiting right next to the door.

“Oh, thank goodness, we’ve been worried—”

Someone else was behind her, standing up, coming toward us fast, then stopping short.

It was Mike.

“Alice, you gotta come home. Dad got arrested.”

Mike was looking hard at Bobby while he said it, like he wasn’t sure where he knew him from.

“I fell and sprained my ankle. My friend’s dad helped me back.”

Bobby sat me down on the couch and was just moving away from me, making noises like Well, now that there are people here to take care of you, I’ll just be on my way, or something, and he was going toward the door when I saw Mike’s eyes change, it clicked, he figured it out.

Mike followed Bobby to the door, took his elbow, and was whispering at him, Mike’s arm tensed, the veins popping out, Bobby’s face turned deep red, the jaw muscles twitching, he yanked his arm away and looked in my direction, but I wasn’t having any. Bobby pushed past Mike, clumsy and hushed, dull thudding of shoulders against the door, and then Bobby was gone, into the night.

“C’mon,” Mike was saying, “I packed up some of your stuff, it’s out in the car already, let’s go,” and he started to pull me up from the couch.

“Wait, wait a minute,” I said, slapping his hands away. Something else, something else happened, what was it? “Dad was arrested? Is that what you said? Dad got arrested? What for?”

Mike rubbed his cheek with his shoulder, and bent down so his head was next to mine, so the resident couldn’t hear, and said:


I cracked up, laughing out loud again, my whole body shaking with it, while Mike helped me up and the resident held the door open, I laughed all the way down the street to where Mike had parked the newest Oldsmobile, dark blue, I laughed while he bundled me into the passenger side, wiping the tears away and slapping the dashboard, I didn’t think I would ever stop laughing.


Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California.  Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle. 

Read more stories by Caitlin Myer


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