The Cuckoo


He had waited all his life on it. I mean he was fourteen years and all – and nearly another half a year, come July. All he wanted was to be out of that room which he shared with his kid brother. I mean the boy was seven for crying out loud. What kinda talk could you have with a baby of that tenderness in your room?

He had to be ready, we all did if it came to that. He’d tried to talk to his Ma about his worries, but she was always doing something for Jesus in this county or the next. Jesus wasn’t going to save her this time. No way, he knew that much.

He remembered talking to his Great Grandpa about the war and all. How he’d only been a boy, but they had all seemed to know it was coming. That feeling that someone you didn’t know, or you’d never met, was up there like a sky-angel dropping these bombs on you. You had no way to know if it was going to land next to you, or on top of your head. That kinda thinking changed a man. That’s what Great Grandpa had said. You never took your life for granted again. ‘Just enjoy the air, boy’ was one of his favorite sayings.

He’d been born waiting – like his ‘watch-ma-call-it?’- DNA had been all fixed up so he would know when it was coming. He had been born for this time, this moment, this change in the universe.

He was ready. Really, truly ready for what lay ahead. He wondered if maybe there, were others like him in the world. The ones who knew – knew the precise time it would arrive – knew what the next stage would be.

Then his fourteen trips around the Sun, kinda caught up with him and he started to put things together – things he hadn’t noticed before. Sure, he’d been a weird kid (there were lots of them about), and he kinda didn’t look like his Ma much. She said his Pa had taken up with an unholy sinner and moved to Chicago, so he had no idea what he looked like. But he remembered reading about Cuckoos – they were kinda prone to laying their eggs in other folk’s nests and then let the poor folks do all the hard work. So, what if that was the truth? His truth.

What if he was a cuckoo for those that were arriving tonight. What if he wasn’t one of us, but he belonged to them out there? Perhaps he’d been placed here to wait and get ready?

That was when he snapped, and his took his fourteen old legs and ran straight back home (even past Crazy Ed’s ranch) to tell his Ma to phone Jesus right away. He was needed, real quick.


bobby stevenson 2017


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