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First part

1. 

For punishment, June played her husband, accordion that he was. Of course she had first had to flatten him into that little lump of tidily flexible compartments, what had appeared more difficult than in the end it had proved. Boom! She smashed him once on the head with her colossal mallet, and the job was absolute. 


2. 

On the operating table Franno would flatline four times before they proclaimed him “out of the woods.” They’d have his rib cage open and all of his organs and a goodly portion of his intestines too on the table beside him. Later he would speak of the wedding he never attended. Mostly those gathered there had got lost in their cups, as goes the wrinkled saying, but there were some who kept their heads, and these were by and large folks, as they also say, who didn’t hit the bottle, codgers and diabetics and regular old teetotalers, not to mention the rugrats and such who had spent the day on their knees beneath the tables, tying peoples’ shoelaces in knots and looking at the shapes of their genitals behind their clothes and in one instance a lady’s koochie that didn’t have any underwear to speak of; it was hairless, with a tattoo of Tigger D. Foy from Winnie the Pooh in a cleft a little higher up. Every time Franno looked at June, a faintly serene smile had illuminated her face, one like Venus’s there on that giant clamshell with the cherubs and favonian winds. Outside, in the rose garden, a woman he had met once or twice as a child was sitting alone on a bench, crying. The unkindly sky had been overcast, though, now, kindly, it was clearing. There were sparrows. 


3. 

Franno, Timothy, Gentry, and June were in the ditch. Before marching away on this pollywog safari, Franno had gone into Timothy’s room and found him singing to a clutch of dolls. Each doll, the two on hand at least, had a name, the girl doll Frankie, the boy Severine. Tell me the name of my true lover! Franno told him their father wouldn’t like to catch him like this, he had already caught him like this and told him as much, more than once, a bunch more times really, he didn’t want to see it again, goddamn it, son, it breaks my heart. Someday, though we don’t know it now, nor, for that matter, do they, June will marry Gentry. Timothy said, “But why?” “Go get the nets,” Franno said. “I’ll get the jars.” “But why?” Timothy said. In the ditch, in the shade of a culvert, each child would recite as though some vulgar incantation the graffiti on the walls. “Fuck,” Gentry said. “Fuck,” Franno said. “Fuck,” Timothy said. “What does it mean?” June said. “It’s what the toads are doing,” Gentry said. “Fuck,” June said. They made a row of bottles at the top of the ditch, clambered down one embankment and up the next, and began to throw rocks. After a while an old man stepped into the yard against the ditch and told them he had better not catch them messing with his pug. The pug was pretty old too but not old enough that he couldn’t hobble through the ivy to bark at the kids. 


Barnacles of the Fuzz “My cherries too,” said the old man, “or my plums. Go on,” he said, “go make trouble somewhere else.” “Up yours,” Gentry said. Timothy had appeared on the driveway slathered up with lipstick, rouge, mascara, and the like, and moreover he had adorned himself with one rhinestone gorget, one pearl earring (clip-on and fake), one blond wig in the style of the icon Marilyn Monroe, and the red leather pumps his mother had on a whim in Capwell’s found adorable only to relegate to the dark of her overflowing closet. He was holding a net with a long wire handle. Frankie he had stuffed into his shorts so that only her blond head was peeking walleyed from above the waistband. “Ooooooo,” June had said. Franno picked one of those spiny pods from the maple tree and hucked it down the street. Gentry snickered. “You look like one of those ladies on Saturday Night Live,” he said. They caught toads, pollywogs, snakes (a garter), mice (one), dragonflies, lizards (bluebellies mainly though also they broke off the tail of an alligator lizard just before it had got into a crack in the rocks), carp (one, a baby), guppies, and lots and lots of crickets. They found eleven empty cans from a twelve pack of Olympia some teenagers had drunk a day or two before, and a whole bunch of cigarette butts, mostly Camel Lights but also a Salem, that was the one with lipstick on it. Plus an apple with two holes carved into it, one on top and one on the side, and some burned up stinky tinfoil, and a bunch of burned up matches. Gentry had a box of matches. Momentarily he would take a toad from the bucket of toads slimy with their own eggs and toss it into the air, whence, he did not know how or why, Timothy would clumsily catch it, his fingers trembling, shortly to see a wick hissing with fire and smoke trailing from the toad’s puckered anus. A second later the toad would detonate. A second after that Timothy would find himself slick with guts and brains and little bulging eyes, splintery pieces of shattered bones. He’d still be wearing the blond wig in the style of the icon Marilyn Monroe. Gentry, by the way, had nearly ten packs of firecrackers got from his big brother Harry, who had bought a brick of them off some thugs in Chinatown the week before. June D. Foy will not have been there, having been sent home by Franno because they were all supposed to be home by then but Franno didn’t want to get in trouble, June would tell their mother they’d be home in time for dinner, everything was fine, they had caught lots of stuff, it was totally, majorly boss.

Feb. 13, 2017, 6:17 p.m. 0 Report Embed 0
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