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At the Place of the Rapids

… on account of his is a ripoff and makes my ears ring, she said. And on account of his havin too small teeth and a foreskin like a dry ass old sow lip. And could he had done it to no one stupider than Shawna. She got an ass like a damn growing balloon of shakin malt, she said. We had plenty of girls like that and none of them got where they was goin not like they didn try. My God must have cut it with somethin awful like baby aspirin. Don’ laugh, made my damn ears ring, Aunt Marcy said. She hoofed off the couch and walked around the room in her underwear, the lights flickered a few times on account the wiring under the floor, so daddy said, and she had around her waste a long necklace we stole at the house Audrey Charmical lives at and yes her name was on the chalkboard like that like chemical but Charmical. 

They came back to give us more one morning before we was up and she had been sayin on account of that she had been made sick and her ears was ringing they could give us more and one of them, a big one with a big dick, made like he was going to hit Auntie but he smiled and went cool and started kissin on her and he had brought more than she had seen and she was not sick, did not get sick, on account of it was not bad. But that was the day her face pain had started with the ringing in her ears. 

We went out across the lawn to the street and passed around a few times and a kid named Dellnar or Delner, some weird name his stupid momma came up with, wetted on it and she smacked his stupid ensemblage like it was made of spit and the stuff flew all out his mouth on my shirt and made a big dark spot. Not blood. Not blood. And we all was laughing because the kid kept checking for blood on his wrist and wiping his hand cross his nose like his semblage was bleeding but it was not. He just full of spit is all. Spit and boy that kid got a mouth on him Delner, whats his name, whats his name, that stupid mouth and his big goddam brother Jelly or Jello, something came out and he took Aunt Marcy by the arm and dragged her off somewhere and I could not see her around the corner of their property on account trees is overgrown on the fence and the old restitute vehicle stays on the blocks next a cracked to shit concrete, what daddy wanted once he could fix and Delner, his momma said they could not, we could not, because we was not worth a goddamn.

And she came back that next morning and that was another time we got more and her ears started ringing with the big dick kid and she shoved off him and came over to me crying and threw up all in the backyard. I take her there easy like when she gets too sick on account of the pain. Or I get sick all the time and I know why, because back a few hundred yards in the back there was some bad water we was not sposed to drink, but the well is nearby, and daddy says on account of the grave amount of toxic chemicals from Stordy Ornmar, the chemical plant, they got us comin a check or some money like we had on account of the freezer. 

So I got good enough comin if he dies because they got to take care of anyone anyhow they can, we folk, and a bit more cause I’m told I’m like a kid, but I’m not like a kid at all, just undergrown is all. I got tits like Aunt Marcy and I got everything all in the right place. Just I can not get to school no more on account of I’m too tired all the way into noon. And so it’s better to get high and go work at the Jessups slingin food to the idiots who eat that kind of stuff. Aunt Marcy do not let us eat none of that crap on account it all comes off the boat from Argantinia and she says they got more problems in that country from the water than even up here in Adams and couldn’t it not get worse on the train we was coming up from Martinsville after daddy took us on vacation and we saw a slick on the water leading back to the ways to the mill and our water. I coulda swore too the fish kill is back and all the shore is full up with fish but I go and check and all is clear, like daddy had said after pouring the magic mystery oil in the 350, and he said, dribble a little of that denatured alcohol in the carb some and he started it and it gunned up like a hell horse roaring. That is daddy’s 350. Marcy has her own Ranger with a long bed and we get out far and good out of town on it when we get sick of it all and stay in the field and camp out watching the stars. Did that too when we got screwed after going into Jessups and taking the till for the long weekend but that was back before we worked there on account of daddy had been kicked aside for work for a time and when he gets like that he goes up to Uncle Vieho and there he and Vieho do work and they drive people from Canada down through to Chicago. Like we was when we were kids, just a bunch of kids mixed in with the mexs all in daddy’s 350. I like the Ranger.

The freezer tide us over for a good time. I never got why. It is just a freezer. But Aunt Marcy said that is where Momma gone off to, and I do not see how. Do not go in the freezer is all I was told. Daddy chained it up. We got a good portion of our shitshow covered by the state and the surgery went all okay and Aunt Marcy got home good and it had been in her jaw and up by her eye a little and she said they kept scanning in the hospital and cutting it away. Pretty good amount was gone. That was a week I was on my own. I did not tell daddy. He would have come all the way back down from Canada to be around his Camey on account of leavin me alone is tentandmount to kickin a calf just born is what said and he gets all teary eyed, but I am not no hawones goddamn burton, and we said as much at Church, that to be the burton is like taken from the poor and given to the evil. But she got back quick and they gave her bunch of pills we took all week and then big dick brought us some more and she said her ear was not ringing so awful as before and maybe it was the sun junk. What she calls the skin cancer. 

Mealy mouth was back then and spitting it all around when he talked about the damn Richmond race he thought he won but he did not. And could be he caught v.d. he said with some girl up in Indiana but I know for fact no one could not with mealy mouth slobber face. Not in a million years is what I said and he came over and gave me a big wet one and I nearly lost it all over the couch here and on the floor, but I did not and I even liked it a little for a while because he can be gentile when he is nice. I got a little bit of a hicky even, my first and Aunt Marcy got me a steak and we cooked it out back and ate it with the last of the moon and the krickets and all that sound stuff back here by the water the Conewago is what they call this one back here, they call it that and that is Lanape for where the rapids are. Or like how the Indians say it it is like at the place of the rapids, which is kinda better on how we say it, how we get the idea all into the what, the what, a kinda wordiness is what Aunt Marcy said, and I agree, wordiness, like too much of a kinda going on about something to describe it all. And the Lanape man around here, boy is he a smarter one than ours. Ohh, all day long. And when I told him like I did I knew the meaning of Conewago he lit up like a cherry on a cigarette at night, like what is this white girl here saying to me. And I told him we all hold a mysery in us but I meant mystry and on account I was drunk I did not clarify but let him hear what he heard and he agreed and like that just fine.

Conor Robin Madigan repairs instruments at a shop in Evanston, Illinois, where he’s worked since 1995.