Sam leaned against a tree listening to the lovers up in the woods just down the path.

The lovers had spread out a blanket under the low hanging branches of a dogwood tree.  They must have believed that it afforded them some level of privacy.  But, Sam could see them clearly with the night vision binoculars.

He didn’t recognize this couple.  Unlike most of the couples that went to the park after dark, they took off all of their clothes.  They took a long time to complete, and then they laid still for a while.  When they started to dress, Sam turned and headed down the path in the opposite direction towards the park entrance.

Sam loved autumn.  It got dark early and the lovers would show as soon as they thought they had privacy.  Sam could sometimes watch one couple or even two couples on a lucky night and still get home before curfew on a school night.

 

If you could see my mind, if you really look deep, then maybe you’ll find

That somewhere there will be a place, hidden behind my comedian face

 

You will find somewhere there’s a house, and inside that house there’s a room

Locked in the room in the corner you see

A voice is waiting for me, to set it free

I got the key

I got the key

 

Voices, I hear voices

 

Sam pulled a dining room chair up in front of the china cabinet and climbed up.  He looked at the box, all covered in dust.  Sam’s dad hadn’t touched the box in months, so he would need to be very careful not to disturb the dust on the box or on the cabinet around the box.  Because, you never knew when the old bastard would get shit-faced, then reach up there and grab the box and drag it down.  And even when he was drunk, he would notice shit.  Shit that pissed him off.

The key for the box was always on his dad’s key chain.   It was an old-timey key that looked like a skeleton key from the movies on the black and white classics channel.  One day when the old man forgot his keys on the kitchen table, Sam used a small block of wax make an impression of the key just like they did in some of the old movies.   He used the wax impression to make a rubbing in the shape of the key.

A few weeks later, he took the rubbing to shop class as school and cut out 8 blanks from a sheet of metal about the same thickness as the key.  Sam was on his third try at shaping a key from one of the blanks using a file he had stolen from shop class.  He would file down the edges to make the key rounder and smoother.  When the key would fit into the wax mold, he could give it a try in the box.

He carefully slipped the home-made key into the slot and turned.  The key resisted a bit but then it turned fully around in the slot.   Sam opened the lid just far enough to see grandpa’s service revolver, several speed loaders, and a box of .38 Special.   He closed the box and relocked it.

 

In my head the voice is waiting, waiting for me to set it free

I locked it inside my imagination, but I’m the one who’s got the combination

 

Some people didn’t like what the voice did say

So, I took the voice and I locked it away

I got the key

I got the key

 

Voices, I hear voices

 

Sam got home from school and opened the back door into the kitchen.  He froze as he heard the television blaring in the family room.  He steeled himself and stepped in.

Sam found his father three-sheets to the wind watching girls playing beach volley ball on cable.  He tried not to look at his father as he crossed through the family room to get to the hallway to his room.

“Hey Sam, go grab me another beer.”

“Sure dad, right away.”

Sam turned and headed back to the kitchen, opened the fridge, and grabbed a beer.   The 12-pack was already half gone.  He headed back to the family room.

“Here you go dad.”

“Hey Sam, look at the tits on that one.”

“Sure dad, awesome.”

“Hey Sam, how come you never bring any girls by the house?  You ain’t queer or nothing are you?”

“No dad.  I like girls, they just don’t like me much.  Uh, I got homework.  I’ll see you later.”

“Sure thing, Sam.  Sure thing.”

Sam left his father staring at the TV and headed back to his room.

 

Voices, I hear voices

 

Voices, I hear voices

 

Sam heard an enormous crashing sound from the back of the house.

He found his father standing in the middle of the kitchen with a whisky bottle at arms reach on the counter.   The microwave was lying on the floor on the opposite side of the room from where it should be.  There was a huge hole in the sheetrock where the microwave had hit the wall.

“They can’t fucking do this to me.  I worked there for 25 fucking years.”

Sam turned from the kitchen and hustled into the dining room.  His father continued to scream.  Little of it made sense at this point.

Sam grabbed a chair and drug it over to the china cabinet.  He climbed up and grabbed the box.  He opened the box without getting down from the chair and loaded 6 rounds into the revolver just like the videos showed on Youtube. He got down from the chair; walked back to the kitchen; and pulled the trigger 6 times.

 

Don’t look back, look straight ahead, don’t turn away, then the voice it said

Don’t look back, yesterday’s gone, don’t turn away, you can take it on

 

Sam returned to the dining room and pulled the box down from the cabinet.  He set the box on the dining room table and fully opened the box.   He reloaded the revolver then loaded the three speed loaders that were also in the box.

 

Don’t look back, look straight ahead, don’t turn away, then the voice it said

Don’t look back, yesterday’s gone, don’t turn away, you can take it on

 

It was already dusk.  Sam grabbed the black hoodie that he always wore to the park.  He put the revolver in the right-hand pocket of the hoodie and the three speed loaders in the left-hand pocket.  He dumped the remaining cartridges into a baggy and stuffed them into the front pocket of his jeans.  He grabbed his night vision binoculars and headed out the front door of the house.

 

Don’t look back, look straight ahead, don’t turn away, then the voice it said

Don’t look back, yesterday’s gone, don’t turn away, you can take it on

 

Voices, I hear voices

 

Voices, I hear voices

 

 

 

{Voices; Russ Ballard; 1984}