“… and I said, ‘Well, this is the last plant in a town built on plants and it’s shutting down. When you knock out the foundation of something, what happens? What do you think’s gonna happen?'”

“She had me meet her in the living room and I found her there with another woman and a little girl.

She held my battery as I climbed into my chair and sagged down into its weave of yellow and brown vinyl strips. My knees were at my chin and she put the battery beside me.

 She pointed to the girl like she was holding a platter and said, “this is Jennifer and you’re going to marry her.””

“You didn’t even know what death was, but you knew what I was doing was wrong. You knew I was something awful and something to be feared. You cried and you ran. You went right to your mother because you needed protected from me. From whoever I was or whatever I had become. And it stained you. You would never see me the same again. You’d always be peaking at me from behind your mother’s apron”

He was “coming back to the street. To lie down. To throw his arms out. And legs out. Socked feet at the end disappearing in the white. The bottle in his pocket now parallel to the ground.

“Isn’t it beautiful, he said. I stood above him and said, it looks like your angel was shot, and he patted his other side like he might be bleeding beer from somewhere else, but just shook his head, and said, it feels like I peed, and opened his mouth.”

“I took it up before council. Even waited till the visitor comment portion. And they know what they’re doing. They put it at the very end because they figure no one’s going to sit through two hours of talk on zoning ordinances just to bitch about an abandoned house. And then I raised my hand, very politely, and stood, and looked Council President Persch right in the face and said, “Goddamnit, Steven, what are you going to do about that house?”

“There was a window, there, in the stairwell, that was only good for watching weather. And, because it was late October, and snowing, he decided, to do just that. He’d watch the fat early flakes bury the fire-colored trees and pumpkins and hopefully fall asleep right there. Maybe nod off and topple down the steps, break his neck, and never be not sleeping ever again. But there, up the street, just coming into the corner of the window, someone was in the middle of the road. Walking literally down the middle, dragging one leg like it was heavy or broken, carving a fat line next to the skinny one the good one made.”


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