Monday, 30 May 2011

Insects and Road Kill and Boys

“A man’s got to choose.”

Being a boy and watching his father’s life usurped by the ungodly machine he thought was there to offer some respite for them all from the hacking, phlegm-soaked coughs that had transmogrified his gentle, some would call invertebrate, father into a tempestuous ogre, all grunts and pleads; and hearing father, in one final heave of relenting, giving such apocryphal advice – an audacious gesture since a man was unlikely to take advice from a beast, a boy even less so - he could do little but bawl uncontrollably. His mother’s crying, her hands clasped, elbows angled hell-ward, inconsolably over him like a wayward mantis in a manner that an onlooker might assume an image of collective grieving, flummoxed him even more.

Only a curtain of trees draped in wails and wheezes stood in sight or sound on the smack dab slab of earth drifting in the middle of Highway 53, just 20 miles from the relative virility - hammering, pulsing and humming - of Louisville.

He first chose to peer searchingly out of his front screen door, down the half-gravel drive, through the wilting trees that: by day, provided a meagre defence from an outside they had jointly run from at exactly dusk each day; by evening, a self-parody of palmettos and acacias bent in a stoop, and by night a portentous reminder of their path dependent doom, and into the cutter-saw-like road that weaved its way around the island, diverging and converging depending on from which way the metal behemoths scurried.

He then hearing a shrill, “Whatcha looking for?”

And he attempting to ascertain the answer, thinking maybe this is what Dad meant, since he, like all those adults he had noticed down at the Post Office stumbling in trying to remember their purpose, had to invent some ruse to cover up his nihilism.

“Sumpthin’ to eat,” he retorted, thinking with the mind of the barbarian most of the school parents thought him and his kind to be.

“You ain’t gonna find nuthin out there” she mused. “Unless you like squirrel or…”

“Now wait a second, you might be one of them car eatin’ monsters. I’ve heard about y’all. We need one of them down here.”

She slipped behind him and the screen door, murmuring hopefully, “one day one of those lorry drivers is gonna fall asleep and drive right through my bedroom.”

“Nope” he thought.

Looking around, he could only see insects and road kill and boys.

No comments: