Continued from: With Drawn: Part 31 — Who’s Your Daddy?
Joanne stood alone beside a closed casket in the Sullivan Brothers’ funeral home. Dennis Walsh was in the casket. The casket was closed because a 9mm bullet had made a mess of Dennis’s face, and the undertaker, Harry Sullivan, couldn’t get Dennis to look quite right. Harry Sullivan’s son, Steven, said that Dennis looked like an overzealous Elvis impersonator.
Elvis was a singer that would curl his lip up into a sneer. The Sullivan’s couldn’t get Dennis’s lip to stay down, as if Dennis was bearing his teeth like a mad dog. Jacob would have thought this expression was apt for Dennis, but Jacob never understood why anyone would want an open casket at a wake anyway. Why would someone want to look at a corpse?
Joanne wore a black dress, black being the appropriate colored clothing for someone in mourning, and her hair was done up in a bun. Joanne’s dark eyes were looking at the floor of the funeral home. It was as if she could not bring herself to make eye contact with anyone else. At that moment, she was a lot like her son in this regard. People approached Joanne in a sporadic manner. There was no line to talk to her or to offer a prayer at the casket. About a dozen people littered the room and talked quietly in small pockets.
Jacob sat in a folding, wooden chair in the back of the room. Jacob was dressed in black as well. He wore a black suit, but with no tie. Ties made him feel like he was being strangled. Jacob had his sketchpad on his knees, and he was working on a drawing of his mother and John Berkley standing together in one of the grassy fields that John liked to draw so much.
While Joanne was standing beside the casket and Jacob sketched, Rod and Tommy Rogers entered the funeral home. Rod and Tommy approached the closed casket. Rod and Tommy were looking at the floor in much the same manner that Joanne was doing, and in much the same manner that Jacob was known to do.
Rod and Tommy knelt before the casket’s closed lid and they prayed for a moment. This is what people do at wakes, they offer prayers that the dead person makes it to heaven. Rod and Tommy then stood from the kneeler and they walked over to Joanne. They all still had their eyes down looking at the floor. While Rod began to give his condolences to Joanne, Tommy lifted his eyes from the floor and began looking around the room. Tommy’s gaze fell onto Jacob, Tommy’s eyes narrowing.
This narrowing of Tommy’s eyes was an involuntary reaction as Tommy, a predator, focused on Jacob, his prey.
When Rod was finished offering his condolences to Joanne, Tommy tugged on the sleeve of his father’s suit jacket. Tommy pointed out Jacob to his father. Rod and Tommy walked over to Jacob.
Rod stood over Jacob, regarding the boy drawing in his sketchpad. Rod didn’t notice what Jacob was drawing. Rod was too angry to notice. The very fact that Jacob was drawing at his stepfather’s funeral made Rod very angry. Rod said to Jacob, “What do you think you’re doing?” Rod said this in the same growling tone that Dennis had often used when addressing Jacob.
Jacob didn’t look up at Rod. Jacob just said, still drawing in his sketchpad, “I’m drawing.”
Rod said, “At least have the decency to show some respect for your stepdad.”
Jacob said, “I don’t have a stepdad.”
Rod said to Jacob, “Yeah, not now.” Rod then paused a moment, trying to make sense of this exchange with the boy. Rod said to Jacob, “Jesus, Dennis wasn’t kidding when he said you were thick. Makes me wonder how you pulled it off.”
Jacob, still not looking up from his drawing, said, “Pulled what off?”
“Killing him,” Rod said.
“Killing who?” Jacob said.
“Killing who? You really are retarded,” Rod said. Then he said, “The police may have ruled Dennis’s death an accident, but I know better. Dennis would never shoot himself, accidently or otherwise. I don’t care how drunk he was.”
The police, after investigating Dennis’s death, had determined that Dennis had been very drunk, and that he had accidently shot himself in the face with his brand new Glock 9mm. This was the most logical explanation for the police, so it’s the one the police accepted.
The concept that it may have been the ghostly incarnation of his dead former best friend that forced Dennis to shoot himself in the face had never crossed the police investigators’ minds.
Jacob didn’t look up from his drawing. He didn’t seem to care that Rod was even there, never mind that the man was accusing Jacob of murder. Rod wanted to say more to Jacob, but he was too angry, and too stupid, to think of anything more to say, so he just stormed away from Jacob.
Tommy didn’t walk away with his father. Instead, Tommy sat down next to Jacob. Someone viewing this action from a distance may have thought it looked like Tommy was sitting beside Jacob to offer him condolence. This was not the case. Tommy looked at the drawing on which Jacob was working. “Wow, that is cold,” Tommy said, nodding at Jacob’s drawing of Joanne and John Berkley.
By saying the drawing was cold had nothing to do with the paper’s temperature. Tommy meant that it was cold-hearted, which is to say, Jacob did not have the appropriate, sympathetic response to his mother’s loss.
Tommy then said, “Is your mom banging Berkley?”
This question referred to whether or not Joanne Walsh was having sexual intercourse with John Berkley.
Jacob didn’t answer at first. Without looking up from the sketchpad, Jacob flipped the page to a clean sheet of paper. Jacob immediately began working on a new drawing.
Jacob then said, still not looking up from his drawing, “No, my mom is not banging Berkley. But Mr. Berkley would be a better stepfather than that asshole Dennis ever could be.”
“Berkley’s a fag,” Tommy said.
Jacob didn’t respond. He just continued on with his drawing, the drawing taking on the shape of a person.
Tommy said to Jacob, “I knew it couldn’t have been you that killed Dennis. You’re too much of a weakling to overpower him. And I’m sure that’s what the police thought, too.”
Jacob didn’t answer. He just continued to draw.
Tommy said, “But I don’t think it was an accident either. I think that Dennis probably killed himself so he didn’t have to put up with a freak like you as a stepson.” Tommy paused a moment, then he nodded toward the casket on the other side of the room, Tommy saying, “You know, it should be you in that coffin.”
“Dead people go into coffins,” Jacob said.
“My point exactly,” Tommy said. “You know, those guns are still in your house. You should do us all a favor and use one of them. I could teach you how to use it. Seeing as you’re probably too retarded to know how a gun even works. But I’ll load it for you. I’ll cock it for you. I’ll show you how to pull the trigger. You should put us all out of our misery for having to deal with you.”
Jacob said, “Okay, I’ll start with putting you out of your misery.”
Tommy said, “That’s not what I meant. I meant you should kill yourself.”
Jacob was staring at his drawing and then he held up his sketchpad to show it to Tommy. The drawing Jacob had been working on was of Tommy Rogers. In the drawing, Tommy was holding the Glock 9mm to his own head. Jacob said to Tommy, “You mean, like this?”
Tommy looked at the drawing, and the picture seemed to move. The gun in the drawing went off and Tommy’s drawn likeness’s brains exploded from his drawn likeness’s head.
Tommy stood from the folding, wooden chair beside Jacob, Tommy screaming, “You freak.” Tommy then pulled Jacob from his own folding, wooden chair, tackling Jacob to the floor. Tommy continued to scream, “You freak. You freak. You freak.”
Several men converged on the ruckus, the men pulling the two boys apart.
Jacob’s sketchpad had fallen to the floor, and Joanne, now standing before her son, looked down and saw the drawing of Tommy Rogers shooting himself in the head. Joanne covered her mouth. She looked ill.
Continued in: With Drawn: Part 33 — On the Wall