A novel in excerpts about the consequences of Gender, the meaning of Memory and the safety of Recognition.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Part One: Wilson cont'd WGAW Registration: 1120382


She and Dol niver even messed around. If they were goin to Wilson ought to get it started. All their dealins, over all these years, since they were kids were nothing but clean and proper. She ought to be grateful.

A week ago Wilson spied on Dol,
and her nine-year old, Sexton, through a hole in the dining room shade. Sexton had planted her feet flat in front of the bedroom door. Wilson couldn’t see the whole thing, but Sexton was pulling on the doorknob, humming at her reflection in the full-length mirror, gummed up with water spots and toothpaste. And when Sex tugged the door back, singing, Dol was there in the bathroom putting his face on.
Honey, Dol said, whyn’t you learn a good song!
Daddy, you sang to me when I was in Mama’s belly.
Times change.
I’m crazy for you,/ touch me once and you’ll know it’s true,/ I feel it in your kiss…
You don’t feel nothing in nobody’s kiss, young lady.
I do too.

Dol came to the bathroom doorway. Whose kiss you feel something in, sweet thing?
Aw, ain’t that nice?
Dol needed the mirror to get his eyeliner on right. You kids didn’t clean behind the stool.
We traded and that Pig-eyed Sucker won.
Your brother ain’t pig-eyed.
You looked at him? I’m crazy for you.
Sex, please? The swinging on the door – I got to see myself.

Sexton pulled the door shut, so Dol could have a good look at himself.
Wilson could see Dol’s reflection. He had piled his brassy blond hair on top of his head, put on the leather skirt Wilson had got him when he first told him he was going to get all his work done, and lilac eye shadow thick enough to butter bread.
How you think Daddy looks?
Let me see.
Sexton stuck her head in around the door. Pretty.
Pretty is as pretty does. You’re just sayin’ it.
I ain’t.
Yeah, y’are. But I’ll take it.

Wilson could hear Dol putting his red, blue and lilac pencils along with his other doo-dads back into the medicine cabinet.
I see you at ten-thirty? Sexton asked.
You see me little girl, tomorrow in the a.m. I’ll come in and kiss ya.
Wilson got self-conscious. She stepped away from the window. At her feet, dried out brooms-edge hadn’t been mowed. All summer. It clumped all yellow and tangled looking to be a lot of hell come spring. Somebody ought to be out here pulling it all up and seeding it through – no reason it shouldn’t be her. She could take care of Dol and his kids, Sex and that little porcupine, Chump. It had got her to thinking.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Part One: Wilson cont'd WGAW Registration: 1120382


Wilson ripped the rest of the label off the Bud and wadded it into an itty, bitty ball. She had squared off once
with Julie in the backyard at a BBQ.
Julie planted herself in front of Wilson, eyeing her up and down, grilling her same as a stuck pig.
I don’t know. What doesn’t make a woman?
Don't get fancy on me.
Julie, I don't want trouble. Let's just sit ‘ere and drink our beers.

Standing there, Julie’s lips cut straight across her thin face in the habit of one used to nappy tasks. Her eyes creamed to Dirty Harry snake slits. She drew air circles with her lemonade and vodka. I ain't drinkin beer, that's a difference right there for you.
A difference?
Between you and me. Mister.
Julie - .
Wilson ought to have stuck with the guys in the driveway. Charlie wasn't there either.
He's gone.
Is he?
Oh, yes. Charlie always gets while the gettin's good.
Julie squatted on Wilson's knee, rutting ever so slightly with an acid vinegar breath. Feel like something you know?
I don't want trouble, Julie. Whyn't you have a seat?
Tell me what a woman is. Tell me what a woman is and I'll have a seat.

She meant to get Wilson in trouble. You wouldn’t call her drunk, but you wouldn’t call her sober. It was quiet.
I don’t know why you have to get so worked up. We’re just havin a little discussion. She chewed her ponytail.
Her jaw hung slack and she rolled her eyes.
The screen door thwapped as Charlie walked through it. He froze. Julie. Wilson. Talking. He shook his fingers at both of them. Then he hid his head under the hood of the'68 Delta for sale.
Don't call him that.
You gonna tell me what I can and cannot call my husband? Hah!
Julie hauled up a lawn chair under the silver maples. Shade’s cooler ere, huh? It's been a long time, hadn't it?
Not long enough.
Aw, come on. I’m not worked up, let’s talk. I know who I am. You and that buddy of yours down at Avery's ever figure out who you are?
Is that his name? That's a funny name.
He likes it.
What's it stand for? Donald or Danielle or Suzanne Sugarbaker?
That ain't nice, Julie.
No, it ain't, is it? I don't like feel like bein nice to a grown man, with two kids, whose name is Barbie.
His name ain't Barbie.
Well, it ain't Ken.

Boy. She was a tough nut to crack. Ungrateful. Unfair. Rude.
You are fucking my husband.
If I said no, Julie, would you listen?
Sure, I would. I'm as more fairer than Carter has peanuts. Or something.
No. I'm not.
Wilson lied because, one of these days, it was going to be the truth.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Part One: Wilson WGAW Registration: 1120382


Everyone in town treated Wilson as a man. Not cause that was what she was, but looking at her you’d guess wrong what was between her legs. Her head rose out of shoulders wide at the base and stumped on top. Charlie said her neck matched a pork shoulder. Wilson thought that was close to the truth most days. God gives folks gifts yet it’s the smart folks what use them. Her arms were thicker than her neck, even, yet a hell of a lot stronger. Get a sack of Idaho potatoes, you got her gut. Chase a chicken, that's her legs. She'd out-lifted three-quarter of the guys on the three o’clock so beating, say, Charlie was a breeze. He had got it in his noodle he was going to beat her this year. Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-ha. Just ‘cause he’s aiming at a target don’t mean he’s going to hit it. ‘Cause by the time Charlie got himself up for the job, maybe she wouldn’t stand for it no more. Maybe Dol would come first and whoop her heart like she'd never been whooped. How ‘bout that? Could she even dare to dream a thing like that? She’d find out soon enough, huh? Wilson smeared the ring her beer bottle bled on the table. Dol said he'd bring her a glass but never did. He's got a lot in his head about now.

Dol led her on. They all did. Dol, Charlie, Julie, every darn one. They had good reason. Wilson could lift where God didn’t have no time to. Take Dol. Dol needed his strength to draw that make-up pencil across his brow. It was heavier than she’d ever know, he told her.

Take Tanya and Michelle. Where was they going to get reliable transportation to take them all the way out there? In what part of God’s plan would they be driving that chi-chi Midnight F-10 truck out past them mountains? Huh? Wilson’s part, that’s what part. When they was clowning with their five cd compact disc changer, sporting a remote control, who’d they have to thank? Uh, not Charlie. Charlie couldn't lift a ball peen hammer to save his life. Sure as hell not that mother of theirs wound up tighter than a bull snake just before she strikes.

Wilson, herself, niver needed no lifting. If she herself didn't amount to nothing it wasn't no skin off her back. And compared to the dreams of some, compared to the dreams of them girls, compared to the dreams of Dol, say, there warn’t no way she was going to. She spun her bottle. Fifteen or twenty minutes ago when Dol asked what could he could get her, he puckered his lips. Don't think Wilson didn't note it.

Tonight was the night Dol was going to ‘fess up. A person puckers on purpose, even if they don't know it. With all her heart she knew, pressing hard enough, she could draw blood from a stone. And she meant to. Speaking of stones, she scratched her nose. Her fingers smelt like sugar char of burnt cow hide and they would straight through to April. She never wanted to look another cow in the eye as long as she lived. The sadness there soaked in same as their burning. Jesus they're the lonesomest animal God ever put on this earth. She ought to go in the restroom and try that powdered soap Avery keeps in there. But it'll take off the top layer of skin and it's too cold for that. Nobody was looking so she stuck her fingers in her beer and sucked them dry. All them enzymes eat off the smell. She and Charlie’d been doing with carcasses all week. She had to put down every last one of them save that one at Charlie’s for quarantine. If she didn’t, the County would shut her down permanently and she'd never get to have her own head again. What a rotten business, it killed her.

Went like this: get the seventeen of them and line them up. Get one of them in through the post and leave the others by the fence. Out there waiting, their eyes fuming same as mud puddles. A shadow’d crawl to the rump as Wilson cleared the door, before shutting it on account of it making the others anxious, while leading the animal in. Once inside, the swallows seething above, Charlie would soothe it. The tail would swish from habit since, at that time of year, horn flies were mainly dead. The head would come in, the shadow would creep, the door would get shut.

Wilson would grip the hammer handle, raise it high above, aim. She’d land the blow in at the crook of the neck hard enough to lift her up, yet them necks’re strong and didn’t buckle. Right then Charlie would sink a bullet in before the knees caved, but every couple cows or so, the skull would be weak enough so as the innards would shoot out. The animal’d loll there like a mixed up retard. Charlie would tuck his gun in his belt, at which point the animal’d weaken, teeter, and then founder. Then it was hook the shoulders through, yank the pulley and haul her up. There was a lot of crap coming out after, and them not being a professional operation, them brains and crap’d make a foot hazard. What got Wilson was them oozy blank eyes niver closing and not seeing they was dead.

If a cow was anything like a human being, each of them’s outside listening to what’s done to the one coming before. There warn’t much variation and all of them got killt if they was out there in the pen. At the time of one coming in, they was maybe postulating of the future or where they just was, but not much before that, and now the floor and the mess under-foot. What they saw in the barn was niver as bad as what they thought it might be.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Part One: Charlie (WGAW Registration: 1120382)


Charlie set his foot on the poplar porch but brought his weight off the railing
Dont creak shes there
He listened The flurries elm leaves car crick his breath Snow spiraled up off the drifts seemin like that old Impala they used to have the one with the cream vinyl roof that got all worn to shreds when the tornado sped through tearin to Fort Smith He twisted his knee til it popped
He blew into his fingers
Numbin night Ol Julied have a recipe for that wouldnt she Shed set me on fire Shed burn me clean alive Shed peel the skin off my bones That girld leave the gristle for the coons He could just hear her
Warm up big boy
Thats his girl go in and havid out That would be that Go in havid out let her know there was no way in hell She was not doing it Go in Dont even think about it She was not havin one Go in and Doncha ask me to say it you know what I'm talkin about Doncha say it doncha say it doncha dare You know the word what Im thinking Doncha make me You say things you make em real
He put his other foot down
He was gonna go in But well now maybe shes already went out Maybe shes there now Maybe her legsre spread The deeds done the arms pulled the legs ripped the brain burnt her agony to begin again It was a done deal A fact Shes a big girl aint she She didnt need him to hold her hand Go see the doctor Well now Somebody woulda told him Dont go against Heaven Somebody woulda Who Who woulda told him Who did he know at that office The only person he knew enough to nod to was Burns himself and Burns wouldnt Doctors dont have to tell a husband jack shit Charles Ceame beloved husband to Julie Ceame dont mean shit Not these days thank you Jane Fonda You can do anything you want if youre a woman you dont have to vouch nothin to nobody as long as you got your insurance card You can get any healin you want Nobody hasta know nothing You barely have to know yourself Shoot the girls coulda walked right into Burns office and told him they was knocked up and away a babyd go Boom boom down a chrome-plated drain Like that gone Poof Oh God she coulda done it huh Oh why didnt he come back You
Fuck fuck fuck Charlie
He shoulda been back here Oh boy you blew it Goddammit you blew it Yup What would your mama say Now now who is standing up for that little baby

his mother chosen hairbrush in
hand beating him into a corner behind the bathroom door Ill beat the bejesus out of you You grimey little termite

Her shriek in his brain now on the porch See What See Whatd I say Aint gonna save that child is she You married her Thats wholly the way welfare worms into folks They got so much dependence on themselves relyin on the government to feed em and then when it comes time to take care of their own they cant They cant cause they don’t know how Aint never done it have they Nope All they done is wait around for the government to hand em a check So when it comes time to take care of a child growin in em Forget it All they can think of is to kill it Its the governments fault A woman whod crucify her own Charlie these babies barely got They aint got fists They cant fight Can it Whyd you wanna marry a woman like that She aint like us son Shes from Nebraska

God maybe he shoulda been home tonight He would never forgive himself He was goin be one of those now One of those folks who kill their babies One of those men who wont stand up for the seed hes spilt Hed be one of those butchers Gods Assemblies in Christ II hunted