Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Water flows through flat land...

I look high up on the wall, all the way to the top where there is one of them skylights, them lights that let the sky in. I ask Pa why them city folks let the sky in when the wind and rain and the rustbrown dead leaves of November come in too.
'Don't be asking me such darned fool questions,' he says.
'I need to know, pa,' I say.
'Boy, you need to bring that mule round front. That's what'n you need to do. Lord knows I've suffered enough.'
'I did, Pa.'
'I asked Vardaman to look on it.'
'He's just a boy.'
That boy, that Vardaman, he comes in now carrying a fish, darn nigh as big as he is. He slops it down on the floor, stands with his legs apart, like a man.
'Where's the mule?' says Pa.
'Can't eat no mule,' says Vardaman.
Then that boy, that Vardaman, he goes out, down the long low lazy looping hallway to where you smell the woodsmoke on the wind. We follow him out across the dirt and leaves. I stand. Pa stands. Vardaman stands.
'Everyone else drives around in cars,' I say. 'Why we still using a mule?'
'Can't a man have a moment's piece,' says Pa, 'less'n he's set trials and tribulations by the good Lord on the road to his reward. Lord knows I've suffered enough.'
'Even Didley Dooley has a Nissan Smart Car.'
'Lord knows. Electric cars. Next they'll be a fixing us electric lamps too.'
Then that Cash appears. He's covered in sawdust from his head to his boots. He's wearing his tool belt, the one with his tools in it. He carries a brown paper bag. One of the tongues of his boot hangs loose, flaps in the wind. He reaches into his toolkit and takes out a hammer and knocks it back in. The nail draws blood. His face doesn't change. The look in his eyes don't change neither.
'I smell viddles,' says Pa, looking at that Cash, looking at that paper bag. Cash looks. Pa looks. A feller riding past on a bicycle looks. 'Lord knows I could use some viddles. To ease my journey on the way to my reward. You durn been hunting in that there long grass?
'No, pa,' says Cash. 'I been to McDonalds. Like them normal people.'

(Apologies to William Faulkner)

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