Monday, December 20, 2010

$27½

When her great uncle wasn’t beheading cows he bowled for the Boondocks’ Brachycephals. Every Sunday they played 27 wickets, 27½, weather permitting. Her great uncle was known for his overhand bowl; launching the cork orb like a meteorite, the batsman stepping out of the wicket like a man fearing for his life. His mother watched seated on a blanket in the stands, her eyes too weakly to see beyond the end of her nose. Oskar Lynch Kokoschka edging closer slops potato pot pie gravy onto her blanket, his great uncle bellowing ‘perro cuerpo, fucker!’ the cork orb ricocheting off his head. Of course none of this is true. Her great uncle was a tinker’s assistant, not a slaughterer. He never once held a cricket bat or bowled a cork ball. He was a fearsome man with uneven eyes, one a half a centimeter higher, a port-stain birthmark and a three-fingered hand; two fingers having been mistakenly severed by a knife-wielding maniac who mistook him for another man. Oskar Lynch Kokoschka I made up to amuse myself. Which he/it did. (Authorial note: it’s what I do, make things up, so please please don’t harangue me unduly; it’s in my Nature).

He fell from such a substantial height his arms and leg looked like corkscrews, the missing one aching like mad. His great great uncle suggested he use a cricket bat, jimmying it to his stump-end with leather straps and baling wire. Seeing this as a sign of his uncle’s misfortune, a mule waggon accident rendering him uncollectable and rivetingly small, he thought he’d give it a try, tamping the metal snip in place with a soft-wood mallet. Of course this reminded him of his great grandfather who’s missing leg was mistaken for his gamy leg, the bad one rankled with sores and pustules, and severed at the joint by an overconfident intern with thick horn-rimmed spectacles and globules of salty sweat on his forehead which the nurse swabbed off with a green and yellow surgical napkin. The litigation ended with his great grandmother receiving a cash disbursement of $27½, payable to her from the conceited bespectacled surgeons insurance company. Give her a Hogansberry soda; with a straw, by God, a straw. Astride the battlement he strode, his funereal clothes tarred and fathered. He was a sloppy fellow prone to fits of nervous tics. A tic tick here and a tick tic there. He likes België waffles with Maple syrup for breakfast and for supper.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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