Short Fiction: “Get Highpants—Part 7”
Styles didn’t have time to pull the trigger. Plome, whose recent window of lucidity had since run its course, peered directly into Styles’s eyes and made a face as if he recognized the stocky assassin from somewhere. So expressive and heartfelt was this glimmer of recognition, B. Styles simply couldn’t bring himself to shoot Plome in the face. Not yet. Not until he knew what the hell was going on.
Plome raised a shaky, spotty hand and said, “Son? Son? Is it you?” There was no acting or subterfuge in his high, warbling voice. The old man was afire with emotion and vulnerability.
Confused, Styles looked over his shoulder to see if there was someone behind him—maybe someone who looked like a younger, more spry version of Edgar Plome. But no, there was no one there. Plome was clearly talking to him.
“Son,” continued Plome, moving closer now with both arms outstretched sort of like a mom going in for a much needed hug with her college-bound son.
To fully appreciate the absurdity of this moment, you should know the following facts: Edgar Plome was an ivory-skinned Irish/Dutch man with vulture-esque posture. When he was much much younger some of his pals called him “Electro” (because his skin seemed to have a brightening effect in dark rooms). B. Styles, on the other hand, was African American, and particularly dark-skinned at that. With very good puffy-chest posture.
Yet there was so much pain and love in Plome’s high warbling voice—his facial expression so passionate and heartsick. Styles, who had always considered himself something of a weekend inventor/scientist, a man unlikely to rule anything out based simply on face value, had to allow for the admittedly unlikely possibility that he was, in fact, Edgar Plome’s long lost African American son. Perhaps the result of a long-ago bi-racial relationship?
Styles remembered something he’d read in Edgar Plome’s dossier: Plome had been quite the ladies’ man approximately forty years ago. Therefore this whole thing would kinda make sense mathematically, considering how Styles was now 42. Perhaps the solemn disciplinarian plumber named Roscoe—who had raised Styles from boyhood—was technically only Styles’ stepdad. Who was to say?
“Do we smoke him, sir?” said Bastid, now eager to redeem himself for his recent gaff. A bead of sweat rolled down the bridge of his nose. His hands quaked, causing his rifle to bounce all over the place.
“Hold,” barked Styles. There was a desperate ring in his voice. If there was even the slimmest possibility that Plome was his biological father, Styles didn’t want to do something he might regret later. He was so completely mesmerized by the look of fatherly affection in Plome’s eyes. It was like a freakin’ Lifetime Original Movie right there in the living room. What love! What tenderness! There had to be something more to this, thought Styles. Just look at the dude! Indeed, Styles was going to need a few more seconds to think this one out.
Read this short story from the very beginning (it’s not all that long!): Get Highpants Part 1.
Catch up on the previous episode here.
Next week brings the final installment of Get Highpants. Stay tuned!