Sunday Stories: “The Plan”


The Plan
by Aaron Burch

The plan was to cull our money together. Cull? Pool? The plan was to pool our money together and buy a car. A boat of a car. A boat like for a pool. A lake of a pool. The plan was to drive across the country—one corner to the other, one hometown to another, here to there. That was the plan. The plan was for our plan, as hasty as it was, to not fall apart, but that’s what plans do. They fall apart, drown in pools, drive away; they cost money we’d never planned for.

So we pulled our money, pushed our credit, held onto our ideas for a better life until the next hand, and bought a car, borrowed a boat, remembered that we’d always meant to do like Jules and walk the earth, and so we set off on foot. We didn’t get far. Who walks the earth? In this day and age. We’d aged beyond our years, looked good for our years. Years? Oh, god. Don’t remind us. They collect like money in a collection plate, they get the best of us all, they pass like night.

The plan, I had to remind us—so easy is distraction these days—was to drive all night. In our houseboat of a car, one corner of the earth to the other. Connect the dots, collect our reward. We were collecting stories. Information. “This history lesson doesn’t make any sense / In any less than ten thousand year increments of common sense.” A cull is a selective slaughter of wild animals, Jehu told us. So we slaughtered him, spread his ashes across the land like we’d planned all along.


Aaron Burch is the Founding Editor of Hobart, and the author of the criticism-turned-memoir (?) Stephen King’s The Body and the story collection Backswing.

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