If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ross Durrence: Oatmeal Creme Pies

In the Spring of 1995, Doak Reilly had enough. Had enough of the oppression he faced every day in his home in the suburbs. Too many rules, too much discipline, too many chores. His upper-middle-class parents forced him go to bed at 9:00 pm. They forced him into saying yes sir, no sir; yes ma’am, no ma’am. They infringed upon his God-given rights by making him share his toys with his stupid sister. So, in the Spring of 1995, six-year old Doak Reilly decided to take matters into his own hands. He’d escape this Soviet Russia. Escape his own Gulag Archipelago. Escape this oppressive, oppressive force. Find his own Shawshank Redemption. He decided, in the Spring of 1995, to run away.

Though only six, he was quite the intelligent lad. He knew he couldn’t just idly run away from home. This would take careful planning and proper provisions. His mind raced back to a present he received at Christmas of 1994. At the time, he was unimpressed by this gift. Who would need a sleeping bag that doubled as a backpack?

A runaway! That’s who!

What a perfect, ironic twist of fate against his harsh captors. Using their very weapons against them! And he knew this now useful item was a Godsend when he raced to his closet and examined it closer and realized it contained pockets on each side. Back at Christmas of 1994, he wondered of what use these two large, netted pockets on a sleeping bag that doubled as a backpack could possibly have? For a runaway! A runaway who loved something just as much as he loved the thought of freedom from this Animal Farm. He grabbed his ticket to freedom, flew down the stairs and flung open the door to their always well-stocked pantry.

Where were they?


He knew they were here somewhere. He searched high and low. Behind the cereal, below the cake mix, beside the granola bars. Where were they? He was beginning to lose hope and even thought about aborting this seemingly doomed mission. He was beginning to lose hope until something white caught his eye.

A white, rectangular box with blue letters.

Tears of joy began to stream down his cheeks and he knew God had ordained this escape. He reached into the pantry and pulled out a box of Oatmeal Creme Pies. Wrappings went flying, crumbs covered the kitchen, bits of creme littered the counter.

This. This was the taste of freedom. He knew that with a sleeping bag backpack stuffed to the brim with Oatmeal Creme Pies, he could survive in the wild. He could survive in the wild for weeks, months! Armed with his pies, backpack, and an extra pair of Batman underwear (for he had a penchant for bed-wetting), he opened the front door and took the first steps of the rest of his life.

The sun shone brighter, the birds rejoiced in his newfound freedom, and Mother Nature herself seemed to welcome him into her bosom. He descended the front porch stairs with purpose. With authority. He would live like those people in the movies. Like Major League Baseball players. No one ever told Greg Maddux when to go to bed! How much chocolate milk he could drink! That he had to share his toys with his stupid sister! Perhaps he’d adopt a dog? Someone to accompany him on this venture. Maybe even a bird. He was a small child, and figured that if a bird was of sufficient size, it could carry him and they could fly all over the world, fly far away from his eventual descent down the long green mile.

He reached the bottom of the stairs and figured it was now time for another pie. He tore open the wrapper devoured its oatmeal and cremey goodness and cast the garbage on the ground. For a moment he considered picking up the litter, but this would be the last time he’d see this place. He wanted to leave a reminder of his oppression to his captors, and so he did. Every three or four feet from the bottom of the steps down the entire driveway, there lay crumbs and an empty wrapper.

The sun began to beat down on the runaway and as the sweat began to drip from his brow, he did the only thing he knew. He placed the spare Batman underwear on his head. He wasn’t sure why people did this in the heat, but he’d seen them do it in the movies. Whenever it was hot, they would put a rag or a shirt on their head. He didn’t know why, and he didn’t question it. If he was to live on his own, he couldn’t question the habits of adventurers who were so famous that their journeys were turned into films.

He got all the way to the end of their rather long driveway with the sun still warm on his face, and his backpack now becoming a burden, and something happened. Something happened which changed his life forever. He reached into the netted pockets for another Oatmeal Creme Pie and found his stores empty. Six-year-old Doak Reilly fell to his knees and asked God how he could forsake him so! He couldn’t even remember eating each of the pies, though the reality didn’t entirely surprise him. For a moment, he considered shouldering on. Maybe he could eat grass? Bugs? Maybe someone could take him in. A stowaway on an adventure for freedom and self-expression.

As the tears streamed down his face, he not only realized that this journey was for not, but something else as well. He realized, much to his chagrin, that he missed his parents. He missed his parents and their house and even his stupid sister. He not-so-relunctantly threw off his sleeping bag backpack and ran back down the driveway, thankful that as it turned out, he loved Oatmeal Crème Pies more than he loved his would-be freedom.

Ross Durrence is a native of Marietta, Georgia and currently resides in Atlanta. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and in his third year of law school at Georgia State University.  He is a tortured Atlanta sports enthusiast and considers Franz Kafka his greatest literary influence.  His short stories are soon-to-be published in Slippery Elm Literary Journal and on Winamop.

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Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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