General Fiction posted November 20, 2018


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Never Underestimate a Daddy's Love

Jason Lamar Kane's Private Orbit

by Jay Squires


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.


 Good news. Mr. Kane will allow you into his orbit.

His orbit?

The—the ten vacant tables encircling his own, Sir. It’s Thanksgiving, after all. And the weather. Not a night to turn customers away.

Mighty considerate of him.

Indeed! An honor. Oh, but you’re being—.

No, I mean it. I’m sure he has his reasons. It must set him back a lot.

He’s very generous with us.

I’m sure he is. Here, for your trouble.

Thank you. Now, if you’ll follow me. Oh, and Sir …

I won’t be a bother. And I’ll keep my eyes averted from his.

I don’t think that will be … So here is your table, Sir. I trust you will enjoy your meal. I will send your server over right away. If you need any—Oh, Mr. Kane, Yes Sir, is there something I can—may I get your server for you?

I’ll wait till you’re finished, Karl.

I’m finished here, Sir. And by the by, Mr. Harris thanks you for your kindness.

Yes. It was very considerate of you, Mr. Kane.

Do I detect … a—?

Well, not intentionally. I am a professor. We tend to sound sardonic by nature. Even when we’re sincere. As is now, I assure you.

I meant your accent. You sounded like a Brit.

Another thing adopted from professorship, I’m afraid. At Hah-vrd we all tend to sound a trifle stuffy.

Harvard, you say! Harvard!

Should I find Mr. Harris another table, Mr. Kane? I’m afraid we didn’t fully consider your need for privacy—given your—your preparation, and all.

Nonsense, Karl, I wouldn’t think of it. As a matter of fact, I was wondering if Professor Harris might like to share my table.

Oh, but I wouldn’t want to intrude on your privacy.

There it is again. A slight pause before the inflection. The turned up corners of your mouth afterwards. So very brief, but telling. How delightful!

Ah-ha! So it wasn’t my British accent at all, Mr. Kane?

Before? Oh, I did detect a trace of sarcasm as well. But only enough to make your presentation lively and fascinating. I would love to have you join me, Professor. Harris.

Well, then, if that is all … I shall inform the server to prepare service-for-two at your table, Mr. Kane. And we will once again close up the orbit.

Thank you, Karl. Give us a half-hour before you send anyone over. In fact, wait until I signal you. I think Professor Harris and I would like to get to know each other a bit more. Am I right, Professor?

I would enjoy that. And perhaps you can give me the name of your tailor. Such a striking pale blue suit you’re wearing.

Gentlemen … Just nod if you need anything at all.

Thank you, Karl. I must say, when I was more your age, Professor Harris, I used to enjoy the solicitation. Karl seems a bit of a toady these days.

You’ve known him long, then?

My, yes, this has been my only haunt here at Cambridge. In the fall of each year, for fifteen years, now. Preparatory for the circuit. Karl’s been here the entire time.

I see. The circuit? The preparation Karl referred to?

The Great White Way. Broadway for a number of years, thank God.

Ah.

You don’t recognize me, do you?

Certainly. Jason Lamar Kane. The Mountains of Manhattan. My daughter was your biggest fan. She adored you.

I dropped the Lamar a few years ago.

She saw you at the opening of The Mountains of Manhattan.

Oh, my, that was six, no seven years ago. I had much more of a following back then. Not as much gray across the temples. A firmer profile. The wonders of stage makeup pull in the slack. But not the energy level. This may be my last year. I don’t know. Are you hungry?

No.

It was just that you opened up your napkin on your lap.

I wasn’t aware. To Catherine you were Jason. Lamar. Kane. Pronounced without elision. Delivered with flair and dignity.

There it is again, ha-ha. But tell me about yourself, Professor Harris.

It’s Lawrence. My specialty, you mean? My department is English, but I teach advanced modern playwriting.

Well, well, well! That’s impressive. You may call me Jason, if you please.

So, I understand it was quite an opening night, Jason.

From what I can remember. That was seven—.

But you do remember Catherine, don’t you?

Catherine? Your daughter, Catherine?

Seat nine, section H.

No, I—.

Seat nine, section H, where you sent your gofer to escort her backstage.

Did your daughter tell you that?

Why don’t we just cut through the shit, Jason? You know what a Glock is?

Precious Jesus! You mean the pistol?

Precious Jesus, yes, the pistol! Precious Jesus, the one that’s aimed at your crotch, under the napkin in my lap. Now’s not the time to lie to me, Jason.

Please, you’re making a mistake.

Of course, aiming isn’t an exact science from under a table. The first shot may be off by a half-inch or so, and enter the soft flesh of the upper thigh. But there’s a lot of bone to carom off. It’ll right itself soon enough and take out half your bowel in the process.

I beg of you …

One of the first three shots should be on mark, though. Then … Wait! Are you crying, Jason. I didn’t intend making you cry.

Okay. Okay, I may have met your daughter back stage. Some kids get a kick out of that kind of thing. Please, Lawrence. How could I—? I didn’t know it was your daughter.

And you only wanted what was best for her, right, Jason? I mean, the streets of New York are unsafe for a seventeen-year-old.

Seventeen!

Yes, so you and your Chauffeur drove her home. All the way to Cambridge. That’s over 200 miles. Across state lines.

And—and for protecting her you’re going to shoot me? I’ll swear I didn’t know she was seventeen. And I did think it was strange she was all alone in the big city. And had a bus ticket home. I—I wondered … don’t take this wrong, but I wondered where her parents were.

I’ll bet you did. I don’t mind telling you I am a single parent. And it’s not easy.

I can imagine, Lawrence. Phew! I don’t know how you do it. I really don’t.

Leave your grovelling to a professional, like Karl. But you are right. I’ll give you that. A seventeen-year-old is too young to be left alone for a week—stupid! Stupid!

Oh, no, no Lawrence. I wouldn’t say—.

Can it, Jason! It was stupid. Even though my research would advance my career and make our future more secure. She assured me she would be fine. I bought her the ticket, you know. I pulled every string I could and bought her the goddamn ticket to your show, Jason.

Now don’t be so harsh on yourself.

Shut up! You’re the reason, I shouldn’t have left her alone. And I’ll go to my grave—which will be very soon—with the guilt of that hanging over me. Will you quit your blubbering and man up?

I’m sorry.

Here …

What are you doing?

Reaching into my coat pocket. I’ve got my gun pointed at you. I’m about to blow off your balls, and you’re worried about what I’m pulling from my pocket? What do you think, I have a bomb in there?

Sorry, I’m a little nervous.

I want you to hear something. You know these kids today. Always recording something. Always keeping a record. Darn kids. Why, you’re trembling. Listen:
~     ~     ~

I was such a child last night. Thank God it wasn’t my first time. How awkward would that have been? But still. The tears. It was for Daddy. I couldn’t tell Jason that, of course. He thought I felt guilty about doing it with him, I know that. But I was heart-sick that I let Daddy down.
 
I thought I would die when he said he wanted to see me again tomorrow night. Jason Lamar Kane! I want to shout it out to the world. No one would believe me, anyway. They wouldn’t believe he sent someone to my seat after the show to take me back stage. So they certainly wouldn’t believe this.
 
Jason Lamar Kane. I loved him from the first time I watched him on the screen, kissing Anna Stoneworthy. I was so jealous back then. And now I’m sure I’ll hear him tell me he loves me tomorrow night. Just a feeling, but he almost said it tonight. I need to go get ready. Tomorrow night has to be perfect.
 
~     ~     ~
 
Anything you want to add to explain that constipated look on your face, Jason?
 
I am so sorry. You’ve got to believe me. I didn’t know she was seventeen. She acted so—
 
Adult? Shut up. Just shut up. Listen:
 
~     ~     ~
 
I missed my period a week ago. I bought the pregnancy test, but I’m afraid to take it. What if I am? What would I tell Daddy? Jason loves me. I knew he did all along. He didn’t need to tell me, but I’m glad he did. We made love twice. And then the third night. I lost track.
 
I cleaned the house thoroughly for Daddy’s arrival.
 
Shit! I’m pregnant. What am I going to do? Daddy can’t know who the father is. I want to die.
 
~     ~     ~
 
Any last words?
 
For the love of God, Lawrence don’t do this.
 
But what else can I do, Jason? Catherine’s dead.
 
Dead? Catherine? But that was seven years.
 
You're wondering how I’d have gone seven years, knowing? She convinced me it was her high school boyfriend.
 
But … but … but you forgave him? You forgave him, Lawrence?
 
He was seventeen, too. He had the balls—ha-ha!—to own up to it. But not enough to … so I arranged to have the right thing done before she started to show. You know … my career and all. Don’t! Don’t you dare fucking sigh, you son-of-a-bitch!
 
I didn’t mean … I’m sorry.
 
She never recovered from … losing the baby. Never forgave me. I was no longer her daddy. You have no idea what that did to me. Still your secret stayed her secret. Years of therapy didn’t dredge it from her. The evidence was mounting, only I couldn’t see it. The walls of her bedroom cluttered with every freaking picture you’ve ever had freaking taken of you, you piece of shit! Wait! I almost pulled the trigger on that one. Need to be calm.
 
Oh, Mother of Jesus!
 
I know. I’m under control for a minute, though. What is that stench? You smell it don’t you? We must bring it to Karl’s attention. It’s like a sewer opened up below the restaurant, and it’s seeping up through the floor.
 
Point made, Lawrence. I’m humiliated, yes. Please, Jesus …
 
It took that to get you to start praying? But, open your eyes. You need to hear the best part before I finally do pull it. Listen, Jason. This recording—all of it—became the history of what led up to the climactic moment. Act three, scene two. Her suicide note … um, recording. Enjoy it. Neither of us will be around for the little play’s denouement.
~     ~     ~
 
Daddy. I can say it now. Daddy. I love you, dear Daddy. I forgive you. You must forgive me, Daddy.

I made a little altar on the floor, by my head. There, you’ll find the few precious offerings, all parts of my brief history. My fourth grade flutophone, my high school diploma. You were so proud. I wish I had it in me to share your joy. Then, the autographed program from The Mountains of Manhattan. My ticket, seat nine, section H. Beside it, the recording. The one you’re listening to.

By now you’ve listened to the most important story in my short life. You’re well acquainted with the main characters in my drama. You. You share the lead. I’m your little girl. You know me well. The other, My Beloved. Jason Lamar Kane, I wish you could see him as I see him. Witty. Warm. Loving. He loved me Daddy. He loved me. I’ve carried his love with me to wherever one goes afterwards.

And now, there is one promise I must ask you to keep, Daddy. You must do nothing to Jason Lamar Kane. If you ever loved me, and if you want me to love you beyond the grave, you will allow nothing to happen to Jason. You promise me that, Daddy. Promise?

I’ve already taken the pills. Enough to kill a horse, I’m sure. The world is swimming away. I’m awfully sleepy. My last thoughts are of you, Daddy, you and Jason Lamar … Lamar … Kane. Good night.
~     ~     ~
 
Lawrence. Lawrence, you heard Catherine.

And thus … the bargaining begins. And the praying, also, I see. You needn’t waste either one, Jason. See, I love my daughter. So much I won’t cut short what I hope will be your long, tortured life. The truth is, though, you’ll whisk my daughter’s memory that you only revived for tonight’s occasion. So I’ll settle for a tuppence-worth of vindication. Stand up, Jason Lamar Kane.

What? What are you …?

Stand up or I’ll have to renege on my daughter’s last wishes. And don’t think I don’t want to. That’s bett—oh my God! Like the hot steam from a swamp. And you chose today to wear your pale blue suit. Phew! Now, I want you to walk out of here with all the dignity your name carries. No, no, no! Leave the napkin right where it is. Let nothing but your charm precede you. Make tonight your greatest performance. You may smile at Karl, if you wish, even wave to any fans who recognize you, but don’t say one word. Got it? Hands at your side. That’s right. I’m right behind you. Don’t you try to cover up anything. That’s a good boy. Stand tall. Square those shoulders, Jason Lamar Kane. Walk proud out of your orbit and into your destiny.
 


Dialogue Only Writing Contest contest entry

Recognized


I apologize for the length. But I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.


© Copyright 2019. Jay Squires All rights reserved.
Jay Squires has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.