to voice over artist Tim George
the part of Hank Peabody
Tim George's website to learn more
about his work
A Fool So Full of Sorrow
from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody
NIGHT. I awoke knowing something was wrong, dehydrated, thick and hurting,
still in my clothes and shoes, under the covers.
I went down the check list.
Obviously I had drank too much, which is always stupid.
But I do it.
Had I punched someone or wrecked the car?
I rolled over. At the back of my head was a sharp rattle
of broken pottery. My mouth was an arroyo, sinuses dry as sand. Ears
I kept going down the list, slow notch.
There it was.
I had fought with Janet.
When I was a kid, I always wondered what two people who
loved one another could fight about that was so important that they
hurt each other. It wasnt until I was much older that I realized
that they fought like that because they do love each other. It
all came down to the need to stake out territory.
With Janet, it was never a fair fightshe was a lot
tougher than me. Not that she didnt feel: she could shoulder stuff
for years until finally breaking like something you had never seen in
your lifea river of tears flowing from her face turned red beneath
the glow, and that look in her eyes of complete betrayal.
Had I caused that?
Or was it something that was always there, something that
was hers, like a virus, just waiting to come to the surface?
You felt in your heart, so deep, that the world was made
a poorer place by her being that waynow you wanted to know how
to fix it, and every so pitiful often there was just no way to fix it.
It started at the Rusty, I remember now. Serras heart
had been missing a week. We had been talking about who might have taken
it. I made a few jokes. Janet laughed at one but stopped laughing at
Youre never gonna fing get it, are you,
Hank? she looked away, holding her forehead, then a sip of wine.
Should we order another round or move on to water?
There was silence between us, only the sound of others having
a good time.
We should just move on, she said.
Look, in a whisper. I just figured it
was going to show up. I thought the whole thing with the heart was a
put-ona fraternity deal.
She stared straight ahead. Not that, she said.
The bartender, Rick, came over. Janet, can I get you
Just water, she smiled.
You know youre in trouble when they can manage a smile
for everyone but you.
Water, too? I asked.
He wandered off. I continued to look for signs from Janet,
but she was just so hurt.
I cleared my eyes. Dolores had come in and was walking towards
I sighed. She knew what was up and put her hand on Janets
You alright, Janet?
Janet reached a hand over her shoulder and lightly touched
Los. Im fine, sweetie. Ill be alright.
Dolores looked at me like What Have You Done?
Are you coming back to the office, Hank? she
No. St. Patricks Day, 2012. So non bullshit
she was. She hesitated. Ill leave some stuff on your desk
for you to look at.
Janet turned. What are you doing tonight, girl?
I have my yoga class and then . . . Not sure,
she said. I thought I might hang out with you guys, but you look
like you got stuff to talk about.
Lo turned and walked.
Janet sat up, took the big heap of water the bartender had
poured and straightened her shirt.
That girl loves you so much, Hank. If you just opened
I know thatI think.
Do something about it.
Janet . . .. I sat back. Dont pawn
me off, under my breath, crumbling.
Hank . . . My friend, my brother. We have so much
in common. Our lives have been near parallelour mothers died togetherbut
that doesnt mean we are meant for one another . . . Her
eyes welled. I dont love you that way.
God, I thought, such certainty. Women have such certainty
when they finally make the break.
She was right. I had lived a fantasy, without knowing it.
I had lived a life that contrived, ever so quietlymainly to myself,
but enough to herthat eventually she and I would be together.
I believe the Latin is Such a fucking dumb shit am I.
Youre right. I have been an idiot. I have been
an idiot and not even known it.
Hank, Janet let. Youre not an idiot.
You just . . .
Just a fool, I said, and when I said it I realized
that the word fool had brand new meaningI hadnt known that
a fool could be so full of sorrow. I thought a fool was too foolish
Think again, fool.
I got up, the bar stool falling behind me. Janet called.
I headed to the door, into the parking lot, towards the historical society.
I knew that my lifewhat turned out to be my lifewas gone.
I had finally fessed up. I needed to turn, like a needle, in a direction
that didnt include Janet as my north. I had to consider others
in the place I wanted to call home. All I ever wanted in life was to
go Home, to get there, and tonight I was just as far from it as ever.
I walked up the front stairs of the historical society and
looked in. Dark. Dolores had finished up and was gone. So I buttoned
my jacket, wiped the tears from my face and headed back to the Rusty.
Janet must have been gone because I dont remember
anything after that.
Lenses, Hearts and Rockets