I won’t bore you with the details of the burial. Out of necessity, it was a shallow grave. I buried him where I laid him down. The trees were closely bunched together, but the earth was soft. It didn’t take me more than half an hour. He was so small.
Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0
Fifty-seven. Four syllables, ten letters. Literally a lifetime of years, more than half a century in those four syllables, ten letters. It seemed cruel that cancer was going to take him out so late in the game. It should have happened sooner. When he left Handsome this last time, he was going to park his Jeep in the middle of town and spit on its corrupted old bones. Maybe take a piss in the blackened, empty lot that was The Handsome Hotel.
No. He was too tired and too old to hold onto all the resentments. It was done, it was done a long time ago.
Sharp curve up next. The gravel was so eroded it was practically sand. No one ever graded Little Route as far as he knew. He guessed the town owned it, but never maintained it. No reason to keep it up to code. No one ever traveled it, and the dead end wasn’t even interesting enough to turn into a decent ghost story.
He took the curve slowly, slower than necessary, but not out of any concern for his vehicle. He drove a few more yards and pulled the Jeep over to the side of the road. He rolled up the windows and turned on the air. He was going to be here for awhile, and wanted to cool down first.
He closed his eyes and listened to the soft air hush through the vents. It got cold almost immediately, but he let it run. It was good for the flowers in the back seat. And cold air always felt good to him.
“I miss you, son,” he said to no one.
He sat for almost fifteen minutes, eyes shut, a few tears squeezed out. Fifty-seven years.
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His hands were bloody claws; dark crimson was still spurting between his spread fingers. Those hands were not used to suffering, or hard work. There were no scars, only smooth lines of flesh now savagely washed clean. The only callus was on his right forefinger, where he held his burlap jug. I know it was a mean thought, a dark and sad thought, but my husband was not a working man; he was a resting man, content to drink corn liquor on the porch. And now he was not even that.
What kind of a wife would have such dark thoughts? I loved him, yes, but that also meant I knew him. What thoughts did he have of me, I wondered. He loved me, yes, but he did not know me. Horror flowed through me as I stared at his pristine red hands, forever and ever stained….
Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer… coming soon
I thought I was finished with the cover for A Very Tall Summer, but I’m easily bored, and so changed it. It’s has a simpler and cleaner look, and I like it.
One more read-through, and the book should be finished, insomuch as they’re ever finished. Sometimes it’s hard to let go.
Excerpt from A Very Tall Summer… coming soon.
“Keep looking. This is all distracting you from your job. It’s a big room, and you’ve got four walls to find it. Thinking is slowing you down.”
“I’ll find it. What else do I have to do? And I’m not sure Del is coming back. He’s afraid of me.”
“He likes you, is all,” said Wynn. “You’re a fresh widow. He doesn’t know when he should be pressing you.”
“He said he wanted to lick my neck.” Continue reading In a big room
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My lips, so dry. It’s hard to talk, but that doesn’t matter. Time is winding down.
The clock says 3:24.
I’m barely asleep and there’s an urgency in my blood that pulls me all the way awake. Shadows, heavy shadows, pulled in from the empty window, the curtains breathe in time to the wind.
Tonight, Jimmy, tonight is the time for confession. You’ve rehearsed, reassembled, mixed it with sly metaphors and sprinkled it with fancy colors, but at this hour, it walks naked.
A man – a man who looks like a boy, who is still a boy – walked into your room carrying a mattress. You know who is he is, what he was. He should be a ghost, or even beyond that, the memory of a ghost. But grief is the impetus of ghosts, not death. Death is silent; grief roars. And hunts.
Hank and Pal sat on the porch, watching the sun climb down. Another hot one, a haze so thick a man could carve it up and serve it with a biscuit. Neither man spoke much. They knew each other well enough to dispense with the unnecessary. Hank pulled out his pocket knife and started carving his nails. Pal crossed one leg over the other, noticed a loose boot lace, and set to remedy that before it got out of hand. A man with loose laces was a man who didn’t pay attention to the details, that was Pal’s philosophy.
Another hot one, and the stink of the day covered the cow field behind the house. Even the crows gave up their arguments with the hawks. Too hot to think about much. The sun settled down below the orchard, and the bloated red made the trees look like wounded soldiers.
“Those two fellas,” said Hank. Continue reading Those two fellas