he thin strip of pavement
(composed of assorted pebbles, sand and tar) had marked the majority of Baxter’s way but now ended abruptly. Replacing it was a dirty type of sand, stretched in an attempt to cover the bare and ever-moist ground underneath. Layered on top of the sand were sun-baked magnolia
leaves, interwoven with pine straw, creating a carpet-like ground of unusually low resistance. To the inebriated Baxter this proved a great hindrance, as his sandals slid over and under the pine straw, unearthing the ground and digging into the sand just to find a foothold. Frustrated, he kicked them off and placed his numb, soft feet onto the hot pine straw
Finishing off the last of his ballast, the empty bottle of Skyy
slid out of his limp fingers and rolled out of his path, onto the grass, into the bushes. Ironically enough, it was his father’s money that had bought the alcohol, the land and even the pills in his pocket. ‘Lazy money,’ they called it (behind his back of course,) both before and after the high-profile graduation dinners and parties. Baxter was scheduled to graduate from Ole Miss
’ College of Business this semester and take over his father’s enterprise. So it was planned. Yet it had happened that Baxter’s father decided not to be incredibly honest on his tax forms, resulting in swift proceedings that practically disowned him through his father’s debt
s. It took a while for this fact to settle into Baxter’s mind and fully develop, but when it did the realization was devastating. Not only would he have to work for a living and carry new responsibilities, his 2.0 GPA
guaranteed that Baxter would never again experience the lifestyle he had grown to accept as a standard. In order to support his ever-growing cocaine habit and alcoholism
, Baxter sold his guitar (as new,) laptop (slightly used) and finally his stereo. As word of his father’s bankruptcy spread through society, those who Baxter once considered his friends abandoned him. He could no longer afford to go out with them, stopped getting the invitations and finally they avoided his phone calls. Abandoned, he bought a bottle of sleeping pills
Through the thorny bushes he could see the pair of railroad tracks, his tracks. Behind them was a small clearing, reminding him of a similar plane. In the center of it stood a boy of four, holding his father’s hand. "One time this land will be yours. The trees, the field, the railroad…" …the railroad. At least he wouldn’t wake as a cripple, which had always been his worst nightmare.
The chirping had decreased in volume and the birds in platitude
as Baxter neared the train tracks. His stumpy feet pushed his torso into a somewhat stationary position and he checked his watch. Unable to read the numbers anymore, he figured now was as good a time as any. Coarsely, he thrust his soft hand
into his pocket and retrieved a dozen or so white pills. Unable to cup his hand and lead it to his lips, they met somewhere in the middle, his numb tongue lapping up the bitter white pills, dropping half of them. It did not take long for the pills to develop their tiring effect, for Baxter to line his spine up with the rail, or for the train to scare away the latent birds at 5:32 that afternoon.