I'm not sure if Johnny Zest has an official history. In my game he lives near his father, a character I created called Pete Sandstorm. I hope you enjoy their story.
My name is Pete.
Here’s another fact.
If you chop the head off a roach he can keep goin’ ’til he dies of thirst.
My son hates me.
Has his Mom’s eyes and her blond hair.
Met her in a tepee, painting turtles on some guy’s hairy arm.
Beautiful teeth, like wet cowrie shells.
Liked her smile.
She took that with her when she left.
I am NOT a heartless b*stard.
Myrtle died of cancer.
Johnny said to come round when I needed to, after my water was cut off.
My pension comes nowhere near the bills.
I told Johnny it was the government’s fault I was broke.
Maybe it was just a bad day.
He yelled, “You’re an angry man Dad, and all you really care about is YOU”
“All that fury at the world leaves no space for anything else. You just didn’t love her enough, it’s not your fault.”
I get flustered when he uses fancy words, shamed of my poor education.
He talks like her…and that day I couldn’t stand it.
“She left you too.” I said.
Johnny’s screams are louder than a train whistle.
We thought he was unhinged when he was a kid.
I had to stop the noise, I couldn’t breathe.
Then I stood in the road awhile.
Tried to wipe the blood off my jacket.
I stared at nothing,
the bar signs burnin’ me like poison gas.
You know roaches like beer?
Then a truck braked hard.
The dust made me choke.
So I went back inside and drank frickin’ orange juice.
Myrtle would have peed herself laughing.
Barfly Pete she called me, when she wasn’t calling me somethin’ worse.
Johnny says he’s sorry.
His mother died, I bust his nose, and he’s apologisin’ to me.
I text next day.
Say I’m at the fishing hole.
He doesn’t show up.
My water’s turned on now so I’ve got no cause to visit.
I find out he paid my utility bill.
I oughta’ feel worse but I’m already rock bottom.
Roaches are cold-blooded creatures,
but I miss my son.
So I call round a couple of times, and maybe he’s out-of-town.
Or just not answerin’ the door.
Then one day he shows up at my place.
We talk like nothing’s happened.
He says we should go fishing some time.
We eat hot-dogs.
I tell him I went back to the group for a spell, and he says “Good”.
He’s talked to Susan, who is Myrtle’s sister and a counselor.
She was ‘cautiously optimistic’ I’d get through this without falling back.
Some days I’m proud of his fancy talk.
I tell him you can’t drown a roach, he just comes right back.
So we’re rubbing along,
and things are ok, for now,
which is good enough.