“Permission Slips”

I wrote a short story (very short, in fact) based loosely on someone I know…or knew…or whatever.  When I first started this blog, I had plans to publish a bunch of short-stories on it, ala Pete Townshend’s “The Boy Who Heard Music.”  To date, I think I’ve done TWO.  Heh…


So…here’s number three.  It’s kind of dark and I’ve been going back and forth on if I wanted to post it; or if I did, if I wanted to post any commentary or explanation.  I’ve decided to post it, but not to explain it.  Take what you want from it.  It’s out there now.  🙂 


Be forewarned, you might find it a little depressing.  I sure do.  Enjoy!


Permission Slips

A work of Fiction by Derek Brink. 

Copyright 2009, work in progress.  Protected by applicable laws.


Okay, class. Find your seats. We’ve got a new student joining us today. This is Jake Prine. He’s just moved here from Dallas.


I’ve known him for over twenty years. We met in grade school. He sat next to me.


– Jake, I think there’s an empty desk over there next to Dan Beir. Dan, raise your hand. Maybe you can show Jake around during recess?

– Yes, ma’am.


He’d stop by every couple of years, almost like clockwork. He’d disappear and reappear, usually needing a loan. It got sadder every time. Last time, all I knew in advance was that he was on his third illegitimate kid by the third mother and couldn’t find work because his name’s on the sex-offender registry. On that last visit, he called in advance to ask if he could have somewhere to sleep for the night. His girlfriend had kicked him out and his mom wouldn’t take him in. I asked him if he was using. He said no.


– Hey. My name’s Dan. Just keep quiet and don’t ask Mrs. White any questions and she’s not so bad.

– Thanks.


I open the door and before it’s even closed — before he even steps foot onto my foyer — I can smell it on him. It’s so strong, he must’ve been smoking it in the car. I tell him to hand it over and he tries to lie about it. I tell him that I’m the only person he’s got left that cares about him and that he shouldn’t lie to me. From his coat, he hands me a bag of pot and another of cocaine. There was enough to get me arrested just for knowing his NAME, much less having him in my home. I tell him I’m going to flush it, because I won’t have it in my house. He sizes me up, but relents.


– We usually just kind of hang out during recess. It’s the only time of the day we don’t HAVE to do anything, y’know?

– I guess.

– Where are you from again?

– Dallas…y’know…in Texas.

– You don’t sound like you’re from Texas.

– Most people from Dallas don’t.

– Oh…so you’ve got glasses…are you smart?

– Not really…just don’t see well.

– Alright…what’re you into?

– Mostly comics and music. I watch a little baseball and some wrestling, too. Nothing much.

– Cool. I LOVE wrestling and I kinda play guitar.


I ask him if he’s high. He says no. He had the stuff on him, but he didn’t do any. I can tell he’s lying. I grabbed him by his coat and slammed him against my door, screaming at him.


– You’re not going to come into my house stoned off your ass, carrying drugs and lying to me. I’m the ONLY person who cares about you and you’re walking a fine line. You ever pull something like this AGAIN and you’ll sleep here, but it’ll be because I slammed your head against this door hard enough to kill you.


He panics. I can see it. He starts crying and apologies. He even tells me he loves me and he doesn’t know what he’s doing — that his life’s a wreck. I didn’t really see that coming. I let him go and make up the couch for him.


– So what are your parents like?

– My mom bosses me around all the time. I think it’s because I look too much like my dad. He’s not around. He’s still in Texas. They used to fight a lot and they got divorced. She kind of takes it out on me…but we live with my Grandma and she’s not so bad. She usually calms mom down when she gets going.


In the morning, he wakes up and asks me to drive him across town to see who he describes as “like, my cousin.” “Like My Cousin,” is, of course, “DEFINITELY My Dealer.” I know he doesn’t have any money and isn’t going to be able to pay the guy…but for some reason, I agree. I guess I just thought it was a good chance to get him out of my house.


– Wow. That sucks about your parents, dude. I don’t know anyone else whose parents are divorced. Mine are still together. My mom can be a little rough sometimes, but Dad’s cool.

– Lucky you.

– Yeah…I guess so.


As I’m driving him over to Like My Cousin’s house, I begin to realize that I’m his getaway car. He’s going to ask me to wait outside and he’s going to burn his dealer.


– Okay…recess is over. Everyone get in line to go back to class. Dan, Jake, stop dragging your feet…move it!


As predicted, when we arrive he asks me to wait out in the car, saying he should only be a couple of minutes. I tell him I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to support his habit and I’m not going to break the law. I can see his eyes welling up. It’s not working this time.


– You’re not going to breeze into my life, show up with drugs, lie to me over and over, make me an accessory to a crime, and then burn your dealer with me waiting for you. You’re going to get out of my car and I’m going to drive away. And you’re not going to contact me again. Ever.


He got out, muttering an apology he didn’t mean, saying he was never going to burn his dealer. The door closed and he was out of my life. I was on the highway, and he was finally GONE. I felt a little bad about it at first…until I realized that somehow between my doorway and him getting out of the car, he’d stolen my wallet.


– You should come over sometime, Jake. I’ve got cable. We can watch wrestling.

– Cool. I might do that.


That was the last time.


He’s presently late. He shows up about every two years, and it’s been three. I just begin to think that he took me seriously when I see “Prine” on the Caller ID…except it’s not Jake. It’s him mom.


– Is this Dan Beir? Dan, this is Rebecca Prine…you remember? Jake’s mother? Listen, I don’t want to be a burden, but Jake’s…not well. He needs help and I just don’t know what else I can do. Will you come talk to him, please? He needs someone who can reach him.


She’s sobbing.


– He’s been doing…it’s heroin now, Dan. He’s…he’s going to die if he doesn’t get help. …please?


I’m sorry about it. I’m sick over it. I hate myself for it. But I decline and I hang up.


To me, he’s already dead.


– That was the bell. Everyone have a good weekend and don’t forget to get your permission slips signed for the field trip.