Ezy Reading:
Alice, Texas
Evan Kanarakis


It was just past midnight when I got back in. Didn’t make a sound. The kids had expected me home hours ago and, sure enough, could be found still splayed across the couch, fast asleep in a dancing, spectral glow of TV fuzz and static. I watched them a time before retreating to the kitchen for my whiskey solace.


See, today I’d failed them.

Today, I was to perform a miracle.

When I left for town at a shade past six (just after their breakfast of grits and milk), I departed a hero. I gifted my children HOPE. A new job, a fresh start. I promised to return that night bearing plentiful bounty. Food for a week... A tank full of gas… Heck, I’d even settle up with Gram Jenkins and get our damned heat back on.

That was my pledge as I drove off with thirty dollars in my pocket.

Thirty dollars to my name.

Hope was a lie, of course. Wasn’t trying to be cruel, though I well knew that today, when I reached into the dusty, sun-faded baseball cap that had seen me through three failed harvests I’d not emerge with any rabbit in hand. No chance: this family was on a slow-assed crawl away from the American dream.

I’ve got a mouthful of blood, a stomach of regret…

… And a mind of decay.


I try, I do. But what’s here in this town of ghosts and drunks and misspent fortunes? There’s nowhere to go and no one to save us. No one who wants us, either. So we scrape and struggle on. I pick up a shift here or there. The kids help out as they can. Sundays I steal from my neighbors as they pray for us in church.


So tired of being a disappointment. Of disappointing them.

Is it so bad that… just for a day… I wanted them to smile?

Yet my lies are a patchwork fantasy. I’m tapped out, so these children now carry me with their as-of-yet unbroken spirit. They still dream of a bright future (as they should). But I’m lost now: a failed father, a man without a plan and afraid of the road ahead. Tonight, I’ll pray to their mother. Tonight, I’ll pray for help. 


Ezy Reading is out every month...