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THE DOGSHIT SUMMER

 

The phone is loud, the kids are screaming at each other, and the throbbing in my head must be the first step on a short trip to an aneurysm.  My eyes are trying to escape my head because they can’t convince the lids to close and the fingers trying to button the bottom button on my shirt play some weird game of tag that keeps me from getting on with the day.

The car shakes so bad when I put the brakes on at every stop that the steering wheel rocks side to side and almost rips itself out of my hands.  It’s hard to concentrate on the road with this and the kids playing as we go to Fannie’s, their sitter, before I have to work.

The streets are already hot and ugly at ten in the morning.  No clouds.  No shade.  Even the trees seem to be packing up for a different climate.  Shelby’s in the backseat trying to fog over the window with her breath and even though there’s no fog, pulls her finger across the glass, “What are you drawing baby?”

“That dog on the side of the road.”

“Where?”

“Back there.”

“That dog was dead,” Hank Jr. says.

“No he wasn’t,” Shelby slaps at him and misses, “Mommy, can we get a puppy?”

“We’ll see.”

The surface of everything looks bad, the whole town, single story buildings put up through a dozen decades, with their different styles and fashions, look like empty shells painted over, starting to blister and crack, ready to flake away and float into the wind like the soft white bulbs from the cottonwood trees that drift along; making it look like snow in the heart of the summer.  A moment of dreaming makes me think the window of my door is liquefying and running down on itself.

It’s back to work, for me, for a half shift at Harold’s Steak & Brew.  The past week was the disaster of my life and the months leading up to it, the years really, screamed at the impending doom.  I don’t throw that word out there lightly.  There would be death, prison, and failure but seriously, how was I to know?  I have three kids to raise and had a husband to baby-sit.  There was no time to look at the signs.

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            Our trailer vibrates with a rattle, again.  I just want to read the new Harlequin book.  It was the Harlequin/NASCAR series of books I’d found at Wal-Mart last winter when we were looking for a heavy winter coat for Hank to wear to work.  That was when he was working for the garbage company.  He lost that job because of a urine test.  Shit.

The neighbor’s stereo is blaring and the bass is shaking every house in the neighborhood.  I’ve told Carl James about this before but I guess he doesn’t know that I’m home today.  Hank’s collection of beer cans dances on the shelf above the plasma TV.  They’re empty so they get to moving pretty good.

GET THE WHOLE STORY HERE:  The Dogshit Summer

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