Ordinary Handsome: The boy

There was a whisper of memory of another car coming back, but that might have been something foggy and unrelated; someone plucking his wallet from his jacket, brittle god-damn’s from above.

But the soft sound that surrounded him was the boy. He knew that before the boy spoke. Euart could smell fresh bread, and something else, something sugary. Apricot jam? He was startled by a sudden dampness on his forehead. The boy – Dwight? – was pressing a washcloth to his skin. It felt like all the rainfalls of April. Soothing, comforting… it made him want to weep. The boy was kind.
I seen man running up and down cemetery road for long time, said the boy. Daddy say, stay away, he might be running liquor. Man do this to you?
One of them, said Euart. His throat was dry, like seasoned tinder.
Ain’t many take this road. Somes do, more now. Three four times a day, man drives up and down.
How long I been here?
Dwight P. Ford shrugged. While. Maybe two nights. Daddy don’t know, ’cause I’s scared to tell him. He shrugged again. Maybe I should tell him?
Euart thought on it. Where do you live?
The boy pointed in a vague direction. Back there. Daddy, he don’t like people. Says people driving liquor back and forth, and he don’t want none of that business.
Would he help me? I can’t hardly move.
Maybe, maybe not. It’s bad. You look bad, worse’n I seen before.
I can’t hardly hurt no one. I can’t hardly even move, I’m all stove up from the pain.
The boy closed his eyes and thought hard. Daddy knows how to sew, he said. He try to teach me, but says I’m slow.
Euart saw a small batch of blowflies on his knee. It was swollen and wouldn’t bend. Under his pants, who knew how badly it was blown out. And it didn’t even hurt compared to the rest of him.
Can you tell him about me, he said. Tell him I’m almost done?
The boy thought hard some more, and then nodded. He trotted off through the woods, and Euart fell into a deep, throbbing sleep.


Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome. Available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0

Free downloadable Kindle app also available.


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