The sun fell sideways through windows of his home looking on the river, silence an absolute enemy, his mind suddenly clearer than ever, 79-year old Guillaume Gee Gee Poupon threw down his cane and screamed from the head of the stairs: I’m tired of leaning. I’m tired of being alone. I’m tired of this goddamn house holding me like a briefcase. I’m out of here. He cursed in a deep Acadian voice and the sounds brought a smile on his face. Blood pumped in his chest, being known; cavalier, he thought, Vesuvian, oh that once I had been so young.
In the quiet darkness, well past midnight, where we had been drinking for about three hours with modulated care (if you can believe it) beside someone’s massive pool in the Poconos, the narrow beam cast by a flashlight came with an alarming start down the barrel of a sawed-off rifle bound to spread pain, sac pain, heart pain, knee cap pain. The rifle and the projected flash were steady, likely in the hands of a confident man beyond rifle-range tough, the heavy voice not asking but demanding an answer: “Who the hell are you guys? Speak up quickly, one of you, before this popper gets away from me. I’m not the best shot in the world.” The qualification he added in a mimicking tone said it better than any hard-line threat: ” but I don’t have to be.”
Olivia squeezed the handle of her wheelchair so hard the veins stood out on her bony wrists.
Early evening light, what was left of it, spilled near Jack Wilkens in his one lone room in the big house, a house once flaunting and imposing in its stance, now cluttered like an old shed forgotten in a back lot, debris its main décor. Despite his reputation as the town drunk, a ne’er-do-well from the first day, an inveterate crank, there had been an instant and subtle attraction between me and the old codger, an attraction without early explanation.
Armand Tollbar remembered everything Clara said, on and off the pillow, in the bedroom and out of it. These days that had become a tough assignment for him, for while the memories were rich and repetitive, he now knew, deep down in his body, without a paucity of doubt, that the river was getting polluted. For the two of them there had always been a minor division: she loved the house, he loved the river.
Lee woke on a Monday. His hands shook while he tried brushing his teeth. He cursed silently and intellectually and sat. He cursed the thought of never being able to sit still for his constant hand-shaking. His heart could not rest, nor his mind. He sat and thought while he shook in silence with the sound of the shaking and the sound of his furious shaking-mind always turning and never resting. He thought about how he would shake all week and wake up the next Monday with the same pain-frustration and mind-shaking and unrelenting body-shaking. Thoughts of living another week in shaking and another week without stillness of body or mind or soul. Thoughts of another week of doctor visits and medication. Thoughts of careless curse-smiles and unanswered questions and unease. Lee despised the thought of next Monday.
Tony carefully looked over his choices. Should I go with live bait or a lure? The sky is clear today. No cloud cover means the fish will be able to see me casting. A shiny yellow plunker will catch the sunlight and attract them, but a live minnow will attract their smell. All right, I’ll start with the plunker. Continue reading