Death Benefits by Sarah N. Harvey

By Sarah N. Harvey

Royce (aka Rolly) is having a nasty 12 months. not just has his mom dragged him around the kingdom which will be on the subject of her elderly father Arthur, a celebrated cellist, yet he is additionally getting better from mono. whilst he convinces his mom to enable him end the college 12 months by means of correspondence, he is left feeling remoted and lonely, and spends his time looking at television and plotting how one can come back to his neighbors in Nova Scotia. yet ahead of his plans could be applied, his grandfather has a small stroke. abruptly Arthur wishes extra care than Royce's mom provides and, after a few employed care aides surrender, Royce is pressed into carrier. taking care of a ninety-five-year-old—especially one as cantankerous, artful and obdurate as Arthur—is a problem. yet as Royce will get to grasp the eccentric outdated man—who loves the tom cat Dolls, hates Anderson Cooper and not listens to the type of tune that made him famous—he progressively involves delight in that his grandfather's existence nonetheless has which means. whether Arthur himself turns out to need it to finish. (20110401)

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When we get to the truck, Mom tosses me the keys. I hop into the driver’s seat. As I do up my seatbelt, I look over at her and see that she is crying. Again. Way to go, Arthur. I start to tell her that Arthur’s an asshole, but she waves my words away. “Just drive,” she mumbles. ” We drive home in silence. Saturday morning arrives and I wake up early, which is a piss-off, since I don’t have to get up. I try to go back to sleep, but I can hear the shower running upstairs, and a few minutes later the fridge door opens and closes.

When I think about it, I realize that there is nothing in the house, besides the piano, that would give away the fact that a musician lives here. No photographs, no instruments, no mementos from his travels. He might as well have been an accountant. Or a hit man. That’s more Arthur’s style. Before I have a chance to put the stuff back in the cupboard, the bell rings and he yells for me. I go into the living room, where he has muted the TV and sits glowering at his twisted hands, as if they are responsible for his current sorry-ass state.

And it stuck. Now the whole family calls me that, and everyone but me still thinks it’s cute. When we moved to Victoria, I made my mom promise to start calling me Royce. I didn’t want a repeat performance of what happened in Lunenburg when I was six and the kids at school called me Roly-Poly, which didn’t even make sense, since I was (and am) built like a stalk of bamboo. Skinny, with knobby bits. Anyway, my mom’s name is Nina and my dad’s name was Michael. He died when I was two. Went for a run after dinner one summer evening and got slammed by a drunk driver.

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