Flash Fiction: Grandpa Caleb

15th century depiction of Cain and Abel, Specu...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long ago, a young couple had run off from home. They had traveled towards the east. Always to the east, hitchhiking and jumping trains. The couple knew each other intimately and soon they had twins. They called the older one Caleb and the younger one Dave. The young mother was happy, for the birth had been relatively easy and she gave her thanks to the great creator of the universe.

Though the family was impoverished the kids grew up into fine young men. Dave had an affinity with animals, while Caleb was strong and quickly started working at an early age.

Caleb worked hard to be a good boy. He wanted to make his father proud, so he brought the little money he could into the house. Dave also wanted to impress father, so he had picked up a fresh dog poop off the side of the road to place it in his father’s tea.

Father had no respect for Caleb’s earnings. He didn’t like Caleb one bit and used to beat him to a bloody pulp every chance he got. And with time Caleb’s countenance hardened and he became a very angry young man.

One day father asked Caleb why was his son such a sulking little weakling.
“If you don’t man up right this second, I will beat your sorry chin to the ground and I will make you get the largest stick you can find from the forest, so that I can break it in two on your head,” father told Caleb.
“You better be a man and keep your stupid little sulk inside and carry it, or else!”

One day Caleb and Dave took the rowboat to the river. Soon they had a quarrel and Caleb punched Dave right in the nose. Dave started crying as blood gushed out of his nostrils. Dave tried to spit and wash the blood off, while greedily splashing the water from the river to his face.

Caleb saw the river turn red and it made him sick –Dave made him sick. So Caleb decided to be devious. He tied the boat to his brother’s leg unnoticed. Then Caleb told Dave that he’ll see him in hell and took one oar and thrashed at the boat until it sunk.

Once Caleb had swum to the shore his father was waiting for the boys at the road. He asked Caleb where was Dave and why was he wet. Caleb said he didn’t know where Dave was, as Dave had pushed him off the rowboat before rowing off.

“What have you done?” said father to Caleb in a fit of rage, “I know your brother’s blood is on your hands! Curse you! Curse you, you vile child! Once I catch you I will cut off your hands and cut off your legs, so that you can’t do anything useful with your life!”

Now Caleb was running away from home just like his parents had done before he was born. He was to be a fugitive and a vagabond, no one could know why he was forced to such a life. He swore no one would ever know his dark secret. The greatest punishment for Caleb was his own existence, but in truth he was afraid of death and hid his face from the crowds to work silently in the shadows.

He traveled sixteen long arduous years, across the country until he was an even stronger and larger man. His strength was seven-fold, though his pain remained unbearable.

By now he had met a girl. She was pretty and he knew her well, inside and out. Soon she bore Caleb a son who was to be named John. And that day Caleb decided he wouldn’t travel anymore, but settle down to make a decent living for his family.

Little did Caleb know that his wife was the kid sister that his mother was expecting at the time of Dave’s death.

John was born very special and John passed his quirk through many generations, until nothing but Lament was born.

Lament was born lame, but he still decided to have two wives, which wasn’t customary or legal at the time. The two were called Hellen and Fatty Mama, both beautiful specimens of the human species. Talented to meet each of Lament’s expectations –none of which were too special.

Hellen gave Lament a child called Joe, who was to become the father of all hobos and the patron saint of social reclusion. Soon Hellen bore another child called Jimm, he became a rockstar and never contacted his family ever again.

Lament kept Fatty Mama busy as well, and soon the family grew even larger. Trouble and his sister Candy were born. They were never up to any good and Lament grew weary, so he gathered his wives together for dinner one solemn night.

“Hellen and Fatty Mama, hear me now for you are my women, my property” Lament spoke.
“I have heard many stories of my great great grandfather Caleb, who ran away from home for reasons of his own. Sometimes I think he killed a man to bring us this family of ours and as I see my remaining children grow up to be cheap harlots and swindlers, I sometimes think I am to suffer for his sins over seventy-seven times over.”

So Lament spoke long with his wives, taking the matter slow and heart to heart. And early next morning they all sailed away to life everlasting. Never to be loved or forgiven by anyone.

The End


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