Novels in Progress: Axel Dahlberg’s “Schmed”

Chapter 1

Mom buried Dad in his half of the cemetery plot they bought together then sold her half. Probably one thing you gotta know right up front. And that I had no say. Like a lot of crap when you’re a kid, you got no say. And you got no clue, mostly. But as far as I can measure, things broke from there. Unless you really want to dig stuff up, then maybe our little family tree was rotting from the inside before Dad’s accident. Mom didn’t know it then, like I didn’t know how far all this would chase me into my future. One thing about my family, we figure stuff out. Usually after it’s all mopped up and no one’s left standing around. But we get it. Mostly.

One thing about me, I’m not special. A regular kid from a regular place. Every kid you’ve never noticed. Standing in line behind you, watching you not seeing me. I’m not gonna tell my name or what I look like. None of that matters as much as the truth. And you can’t know where I’m at now because there’s still guys looking to do me bad. I’m that kid you heard about from the news. The one people saw running from behind Valhalla after it burned—the only time I shot a guy. But not my fault. Honest. You’ll see. I’m setting things straight so you’ll know I wasn’t such a menace like they said. One thing I learned, the ones who tell the tales make their own stories, and they’re never yours.

This is the most honest story I know how to tell. If you’re gonna make sense of anything, you gotta know stuff that never made the news that evil summer when Minneapolis screamed and bled as they started building that Mall of America. People I knew had stuff to do with that goddamn monstrosity—crap you’ll never hear about at Camp Snoopy. People died. Maybe my story will help you look the hell out for crap that slams into your life when you think it’s just another Thursday. Any of this could have happened to you, even if you don’t believe me.

Maybe the best place to start is that night.