Death by Insurance by Jaime Johnesee

The Music Be The Food flash fiction event continues with round four. This time, the song is one of my all-time favorite American hymns, “The Road Home”, by Stephen Paulus. This particular take on the piece of music is performed by Conspirare and the lovely soloist, Melissa Givens.

Give a listen to the tune and then read the next flash fiction piece, by my cohort in blue, Jaime Johnesee.

Death by Insurance

“Pass the potatoes please, Pa?” Jim, the eldest, looked up from his plate, his face falling at his dad’s pained grimace. There’d been a lot of pain lately.

“Boys, your Pa and I need to talk to you about something.” Ma looked more worried than usual and even Scotty could see something was wrong.

He stopped shoveling food in his face and set his fork down. “What’s going on, Mom?”

“Well, that pain your dad has had in his belly is cancer. It’s treatable, thank God, but it is going to cost a lot of money to treat it and your Pa will be very sick before he gets better.”

“What can I do to help?” Jim was always the dependable one, his mom knew he’d offer but it was Scotty’s echoing of the sentiment that brought tears to her eyes.

Such good boys.

“Just be here for us because there is more bad news; we have to sell the farm. We set up a payment plan with the cancer institute but, with your dad being ill and nobody to work the land we can’t turn a profit and we need the money for treatment. Selling is the only thing that makes sense.” Her mouth clamped closed and tears ran down her cheeks. At fifteen and seventeen they didn’t need this much burden.

“How much?” Scotty demanded.

“None of your business!” his father hissed. His mother reached over and patted her husband’s hand. They’d never hidden anything from their boys and she wouldn’t start now.

“Assuming everything goes well, with medications and the like they said we are looking at $200,000. Your dad’s insurance won’t cover anything but the lab tests. Selling the farm is the only way to make sure your dad beats this thing.”

“I’ve already given my consent. A realtor will be here tomorrow,” his voice was soft but firm. There’d be no arguing and his boys knew it but it wouldn’t stop them from trying.

“But, Pa, great-grandpa Henley built this place with his bare hands. For a hundred and fifty years our family has owned this land. You love it here.” Jim’s heart ached for his family.

“I know,” the quaver in his voice cemented in his children’s minds how bad of a situation they were in.

“We have to do what we have to do. We love your father more than some piece of dirt, right?” Mom was good at pulling everyone together and inspiring them. Currently, she looked devastated and it was hard to believe her next words, “He’s going to beat this thing and we will all help him in whatever way we can. Understand?”

Both boys murmured yeses.

“I love you all.” Pa started crying, the pain of the double blow of cancer and bankruptcy too much to hold quietly inside anymore.

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