La Vacation de Jerry: Ending

…eyes and tired skin hanging from his arms.  Even as he napped, his breathing was strained.

May found ten bags of groceries on the counter.  Oysters.  Cheese.  Salmon.  Fruit Loops.  Chocolate bars.  Dip.  Sour cream.  Whipping cream.  There were other things too, but none of them came together to make even one meal that she could think of.


Jerry was happy enough on Friday, occasionally popping into the kitchen to get a snack.  She never asked him how he’d managed to drive himself to the grocery store.

By Saturday, he was so far in the longseat that he looked like he’d never pull out of it.  May watched his hands curl and uncurl, until his fingernails disappeared inside the fabric.  He groaned each time he couldn’t find a program in its appropriate place.  He swore at the kids’ shows and laughed at the international news.  His breathing got harsher every time a black screen appeared, every time static was the law rather than the rule, every time the channel just wouldn’t change.

“Back to work on Monday, right hon?”

“Yeah,” muttered Jerry.

Saturday night came.  “Jerry, why don’t you sleep upstairs with me, you know, after you take a shower?  That way you’ll get back into the habit of things.”

“No way!” he cried.  “Gotta enjoy the last days.  Gotta enjoy them, May.”

That night, May knew he didn’t sleep at all.  She could hear the television working well into the night.  Infomercials and cheesy horror movies, music videos and foreign sporting events.  A few trips to the kitchen, desperate mutterings in strange tongues.

There was a whole pile of empty pop cans on the coffee table in the morning.

May didn’t ask him to go to church.  She just went.  The people there didn’t bother asking about her husband.

She came home later than usual.  May found Jerry clutching the longseat with all his strength.  The clicker lay on the flabby upper part of his leg, pointed at the television but not really doing anything.  There was a Japanese cartoon on, no subtitles.

“Jerry, are you okay?” asked May.

He didn’t answer.  His eyes blinked.  His skin was pale.

She knelt next to the longseat and put her hands around one of its arms, cuddling and protecting it like it was a child.  The fabric was cold and compressed, and she knew that it would soon become one of those priority items on her list of improvement.

“Jerry, what’s wrong?”  She hugged the arm tighter.  “Tell me.”

He shook his head.

“You can’t stay here like this.  You know you have to go to work tomorrow?  How about you just get up now and walk around and get a feel for it again?”

His breathing was terrible.  “Didn’t drink any of the soda pop.  I poured it down the sink.”

“Jerry.  They need you at work.”

He clutched the chair harder.

“Please get up.  Just do something.  It’ll be easier once you do one little thing, anything.  Try.”

But his complexion had so paled that May could only watch.  She would have liked to hold him, but couldn’t stand the thought of it.

They stayed like that for hours.  Jerry didn’t move a muscle, not even to flip the channel.

May went to bed.  The television was the only thing that talked to her as she left the family room.

“I’m bonking the secretary again.  What a drag.”

She cried herself to sleep.  One last image of him remained to her: cold clammy skin that was slick with sweat, hands pulling ever harder on the ends of the longseat, eyes solidly unfailing in their silent regard.

The morning was difficult.  May woke up not knowing what she should expect from Monday this week.  She showered and got dressed, breaking a routine that usually saw her have breakfast first.

Jerry always was out of the house before she was.  But she hadn’t heard him shower or enter the bedroom.

“But I’m a deep sleeper.  He always said that.”

She walked down the stairs and into the family room.

Jerry was on the longseat, and he was not the rigid straining corpse of the night before.  His breathing was regular and healthy.  There was blood in his skin again, warmth coming from his mouth and nose, life in his limbs.

It was 8:00.

Jerry was half an hour late for work.  And he still wore those boxers and that t-shirt, and he hadn’t shaved or showered in days.  But he was smiling as he had the first day she’d met him.  She’d been dazzled by that smile, by the joy behind it, by the possibilities had it drawn for her as they had become a “them”, and then ended up as this.

She fled.

The car screamed out of the driveway.

Mrs. Tylenol waved at from next door.  May shook her head tightly.

“London Crescent, Rambunkle, Connecticut.”

“Allison Boulevard, Ofsprey, Massachusetts.”

“Falloon Street, Sceptre, Maine.”

That day, May drafted out the streets, the avenues, the boulevards, the crescents, the courts, and the circles of Saraptoa, a city in a State that she had purposefully asked to not be told.



At Weir and Sanders, Mr. McCarthy sat at his desk and pondered the time.  It was 9:00, and something was wrong.

Into the phone: “Susie, get me a temp.  We’re short a worker.”

“What particular qualifications, Boss?”

Mr. McCarthy sat back in his great grey chair and put his hands behind his head.  Outside, the summer was still strong but not as strong as it had been.  The bustle of the city was a windbagged aid to his disposition, a free battery of energy that kept him afloat.  Nothing came easy, except to him.  It was too good to be true.

“Doesn’t matter.”



Jerry woke up, groggy and uncertain.  He turned on the television.

“Hell, no one ever writes to me,” he said.

And there he stayed, stuck in his own minefield.


Dream hard, rage hard.

48 thoughts on “La Vacation de Jerry: Ending

  1. Awww, I wanted May to clean his clock! Now I’m all kinda wonderin….why’s he healthy looking again? Why did he dump the pop? What’s May gonna do when she gets home? What the hell is on TV? Good one NB…always leave ’em wonderin….(but if you wanna whisper some answers to me…I promise I won’t tell) and yeah, I know…not gonna happen. 🙂

    1. Ha! Won’t you be surprised, SB… Answers such as I have them (I don’t really have them). He went down the toilet because he couldn’t handle the thought of going back to his tedious workplace. He looked healthy again because he decided that he was not going back, whether that decision was conscious or not. He quit on something. Not sure what exactly or how, but he quit on something, admitted a failure of himself or the world, but found that that was the only way to get whatever plagues him off his chest. The pop… dunno. Can’t remember where that first came up in the story. I think at one point he hated the thought of it. What’s May going to do? Interesting question. What’s on TV? Everything. Everything you could imagine. Enough to occupy every minute of your life in the off chance that you don’t want to have to turn your mind to something else, something that you may dread.

      1. Your answer as to Jerry was exactly what i thought when I read it…relief. I want to talk to May. Best he not drink the pop anyway, though do wonder why he has the aversion all of a sudden. I relate to the ‘everything’ on TV only I’d clarify. EVERYTHING AND NOTHING! And yeah, I get wanting your mind occupied by ‘other’…I really do. Thumbs up NB

        1. Thanks NB. I’m going to go to ground for a bit with non-frenetic writing exploits, there seem to be a long list of things that need to be written pronto. I need more caffeine (or scotch).

      1. I don’t know if ambivalence is the word I would have selected. Just a frustrated guy taking out his frustrations in a strange way, and dragging a nice lady with him, possibly exposing her own frustrations.

            1. I see. A deliberate smokescreen.
              That is top-level game!
              But, do remember that a time may come when you get so good at your role, it becomes hard to be your sound rational self. Your role takes you over. Completely. And you may not even know. You’d still be feeling like a superstar.

              1. Well, that could happen. I don’t like simple writing. I like to struggle and sift through the morass, and find my own rewards wherever they lay. I guess I expect the same of my readers: to wonder, and not necessarily be served a heaping handful on a platter. But even in that I am not consistent. More than anything, I think it’s fun to break convention and try different genres, to write in unexpected voices and from odd angles and perspectives, and perhaps even occasionally to write something that is clear as crystal. Why not, I say?

              1. Ah Doc, I wish I had the skill. It’s not the desire that is lacking! I like hydroelectric power, I think that if we disregard the impact of the thousands of tons of concrete and steel required to construct one of these edifices, and neatly calculate out the upstream impact on the natural habitat, it’s actually a friendly sort of energy system. Water likes the downhill slope; we are just taking some advantage of its natural tendencies.

                I have to change my gravatar soon. That’s Hoover Dam. Immense structure, truly immense.

              2. Let’s put it this way. The yield relative to the cost is not in a place that this technology will save humanity. We will have to look elsewhere for that. This is a temporary measure, at best.

  2. This is a cryptic statement on living in modern times… A parody that is too real for its own good… A flight of fancy that flew too close to the sun… a whimsical montage of snippets of bits of pieces of shards of chunks of flotsam and jetsam and slivers of what is and what was and what could never be but should be… this exposed the soft underbelly of the burnt crust of life!

            1. I know – but what if the book were about the underappreciated art of satanism or a collection of photographs of the world’s biggest anal warts? I’m just saying!

      1. Pouring my heart out nailed it in a nutshell. Great reading Trent. I’m glad I read it consecutively. Enjoyed your tale very much. Some of can drudge on and some of of us sink deeper and deeper into the sofa never brave enough to rise up with a smile and change

        1. I have known my share of sofas, Audra. I usually get scraped off the fabric. Great to hear from you and glad you enjoyed. I’m always sorry when I leave characters that I like, but I’m glad I have friends hereabouts such as yourself.

  3. Well that went pretty much everywhere yet never seemed to ramble. I thought May was going to poison him at one point, and then I thought he was going to just meld into the longseat; become it; people would think that it was sweet that she continued to talk to the seat as if he was still there…but of course he was…but you didn’t do that, you did something else, which was very good; you must be fucked!

  4. …do him on that couch! fuck the pillows. maybe sit on his head and think about Mr. Prolactive! this was fun Trentster! Kept thinking any minute he would die, brain tumor or some such thing. I’ve been on my couch for 3 days now, recouping from a flu or something, but TOTALLY related to this poor dude! great story, and Props to Ya, for no ending AGAIN! lol

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