Ordinary Handsome. Available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0
He hitched his pants. They were too big and baggy on his lean frame. Then he rubbed his hands on his knees. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to clean his hands or wipe off the flakes of dried blood from his pants. He moved slowly, like he was in a trance. All the crazy energy he had when I drove up was gone.
Note: In a recent conversation with a friend, I told her that I still had most of my writing stored away, back to when I was 15-years-old. I was pretty damned intense for someone that age. I dug around and found my very first journal. I’ve kept this old journal — a compilation of poetry and diary entries — and it’s travelled with me to innumerable different apartments, houses, beaten-down hotels, the back of my car, a couple of provinces, and two countries. I don’t know why I hold onto it, other than they’re entries from a naive, intense and, dare I say it, sweet little kid who had no idea what the future held. I promised her I’d post an entry from back then, and I’m a man of my word. Cringing is allowed and acceptable, but please, don’t outright laugh. He was 15-years-old and his heart was honest.
Alone (Part II)
The bitter cold
a fire consumes
The quiet road
ahead of me
and I fear
The velvet clouds
The beating of
— Written November 1, 1975
Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome. Available at amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0
Woodrow didn’t strike me as a curious man, just someone looking for something he was good at. And he never found it.
Shot dead trying to rob a butcher shop. I guess he unwrapped one of his crazier ideas and it got him killed. I still think about that. I know there was nothing I could have said to pry out whatever sharp objects were in stuck in his head. But still. What man hasn’t been in the same situation, where doing something stupid made more sense than anything else he could come up with?
I ended up hiring his boy. A good kid, I think, but he’s got his father’s restless eyes and his way of tuning out most of the world. Jimmy Wheat’s a big kid, bigger than others his age, and even-tempered. But I see his father in him, and that’s about the loneliest thing I can imagine. I tried to do right by Woodrow. He was a good man, mostly, but useless.
Among all my other tools, I kept a fifty-pound bag of lime and an empty coffee can in the back of the Jeep. Nobody would pay any mind to it, since there were a lot of dirt basements in Handsome. After a rain like this, the dampness stunk up houses and clouded backyards with septic overflows.
I needed to keep Jackson as fresh as I could. I’d sprinkle it over him like pepper in a soup pot. It helped, but only a little.