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In which Hank feels like a total jerk after realizing this chapter ends in a cliff hanger...but doesn't have time to recognize it during this heavily cut-for-time reading.


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A Bunny
((
( - -)
((') (')
Good morning John, it’s Monday, September 17th.

Danny was nine when his dad left. It was sudden and nasty and mostly just sad. It seemed like he left immediately, like one week the volume of conversation started increasing and the next week tranquility was abandoned completely and then they all just cried.

For hours they just held each other and cried, and then he was gone. His mom wouldn’t tell him what happened, only that he might come back, maybe, in a year or two. Slowly talk filtered into Danny’s ears, talk about his father’s lapse in religious vows, talk about his mother swaying him from the path and, finally, talk of other women, mistresses that Danny had always imagined as little Asian women in red silk dresses.

His mom, of course, never said anything about it, but she didn’t deny it either. So Danny sifted through it all and pulled out what still made sense. At first he couldn’t imagine his father with other women; but then, after a few years he’d started to imagine himself with some other women, and his perspective had shifted.

Maybe she was a Buddhist from birth, maybe she was Chinese like his father- unlike his mother- reminding him of home and faith and of the path. Maybe the divorce really was about religion. That, at least, would explain the bacon-induced sobbing. “It’s ok, Mom, it’s not that big of a deal.” He was popping open the can and getting ready for the “losing my religion” talk.

He could handle that. “Your dad didn’t leave me.” It was a funny thing for her to say, but Danny bit his tongue before pointing out the obvious. “I mean, he left, he’s gone, I mean, but there wasn’t a woman. There wasn’t anything. We just- we only got him for ten years.

That was the deal.” “The deal?” was all that Danny could manage. “I wasn’t- I’m not supposed to tell you. Your father- he graduated from the priesthood at a young age. He was still young when they sent him to the Border.

To a mission. That’s where I met him.” Danny stared, dumb. His parents on the Border?

His father some kind of powerful and respected priest? His mouth must have hung too low because his mom, finally, laughed. “I know. How could your lame old mom be an ex-Border skid?

Well, I wasn’t there long, and somehow, when I left, he came with me. There were, well, there were problems with him leaving. He was devastated but I didn’t want to live that life.

And he needed to leave the mission. He got out, but only for ten years. It was the only way.

He kept telling me that. He said it until I believed it, and then we came back here and we lived and we raised you, and then just like he said, one day he told me the time was coming, and a month later he was gone.” “So he’s there? In Bordertown?

I can go see him!” Danny had no idea how much he wanted to see him until he realized that he was out there. “I can go there, I’m old enough to work at the mission myself!” he said, as he caught sight of his mom’s eyes. She looked so sad. “Not all the time, I still have to go to school. Maybe just during the summers.

Don’t worry, Mom, I won’t abandon you.” A smile that he didn’t know he had in him spread across his face. His father, a famous Buddhist in the most exciting city in the world-- and his mom, crying again, worse than before, worse than he’d ever seen. She gripped the table with white knuckles and shook and sobbed.

The smile faded. It wasn’t going to be ok. Danny saw it coming but he wasn’t prepared.

Between her sobs he heard her say it. “He’s dead. He died. They killed him.” How could it hurt so bad to lose something you’d already lost?

Danny looked down at his cold tortilla. “I’m going to Bordertown.”