The Keys to Jericho

The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ren Alexander
rebuilding the house. Since Brenda is my assistant, as well as a friend, I’ve been helping. The construction has just started and I’ve been helping after work and during the past couple weekends. It’s turned into a grassroots project of sorts.”
    I sleepily nod, but not really interested in the most likely long, and definitely boring story.
    He must read my mind because he shakes his head with a sad laugh, disappointment rearing its ugly, yet familiar head. “Jared, a handful of kindness can go a long way.”
    Scratching my head, I heavily drop my hand to the bed in protest. “It’s a Saturday!”
    “They’re working every day since it’s his mother’s house. He lets most of the crew off on the weekend, so that’s why it’s helpful to go over there now.” For the love of Christ.
    “So, you only need me for today?” I cautiously ask, praying I’m not signing my entire vacation away.
    He puts his hand on the doorknob and hesitantly admits, “Well, no. My vacation also starts today, so I’ll be over there every day for two weeks.” My mouth blatantly falls open in horror, and he takes that opportunity to kick me while I’m down. “And so will you.”
    I pound the bed with my fist. “What?”
    “Get the lead out, Jared. Doing charity work will make you feel better. It’ll also help speed things along.”
    “I’m sure the builders are doing just fine without me .”
    “It’s not just the physical help. It’s moral support, too.”
    “I don’t even know your assistant!”
    Dad drops his hand and firmly orders, “Jared Adam. Get up. Now.” Fuck. I hate when he does that.
    He leaves the room, but warns from the hallway, “I’ll be back with a water gun filled with ketchup if you’re not downstairs in 10 minutes!”
    For fuck’s sake.
    “And make your bed and clean up the cans!”
    Sighing and cussing myself out for not getting a hotel room in the first place, I rub my hands over my face and drag myself out of bed to get dressed.
    And make my fucking bed.
    Damn it to Hell.

    Walking into the kitchen that my grandmother decorated with fucking roosters when I was five and hasn’t changed since, I round the table too fast and nearly lose the load of cans in my arms. As I stabilize the cans, I see Dad looking out the window over the sink, drinking coffee out of the Rad Dad mug I gave him when I was in 5 th grade. I then notice a squirt gun on the counter. My mouth falls open as I glance up at his profile. “Are you serious?”
    Before taking a sip, he asserts to the window, “As a stroke.”
    I shake my head. “You have some serious issues, dude.”
    “It was effective, wasn’t it?” I scowl at the back of his head as I go to the utility room to dump the cans into the recycling bin. After dropping several on the floor and cussing them out, I return to the kitchen and head to the refrigerator. Already, this day can go to Hell.
    Opening the door, I see what’s left of my beer after last night’s chugfest-for-one, invitingly calling to me and I’m tempted to grab a can, but not with my dad as my damn guardian. I resentfully decide on orange juice instead, but before I close the door, I check for a chilled bottle of vodka to add to it. Sadly, yet as expected, there isn’t any, so I make a mental note to get some.
    I drag my feet over to the counter, almost dropping the jug on the floor in my attempt at setting it down. In my peripheral, I see my dad turning to watch me; hopefully, deciding that I should stay home instead of playing Lincoln Logs with his lapdog assistant.
    I grab a glass from the cabinet and groggily pour my juice as Dad rinses out his mug and asks, “Is that what you’re wearing?”
    “What?” I look up from my glass, then down at my clothes, and back up to his peculiar expression. I’m wearing carpenter jean shorts, a gray tank top, an old flannel shirt with the sleeves torn off, a baseball cap, and old work boots. Nothing out of the ordinary. It’s usually

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