Category: Uncategorized

Crispy Treats – Another Snippet

“I’m hungry,” I tell the woman as she rummages in the refrigerator. My head

Crispy Treats

aches. The world is wobbly.

She hands me an apple from the refrigerator.

“Eat it on the back porch and then you can play.” She stands with one hand on the open refrigerator door waiting for me to walk away. “That’s all you get ’til dinner,” she says.

I look at the red fruit in my hand and then back up at her.

“Scoot!” she says.

I sit under the porch with Shooey.

“Do you want this apple?” I ask him.

He tries to lick my face.

“No, Shooey! I don’t want dog spit on my face.”

Shooey sniffs the apple and looks at me.

“Are you hungry boy?” I ask. “I’ll get you something.”

Charles sits on the porch reading an Aquaman comic.

“Do you want my apple?”

“What’s wrong with it? Why don’t you eat it?”

“I’m not hungry.”

He takes the apple.

The woman is not in the kitchen. The food cupboards and refrigerator are locked. I open the lower cupboard and fill my front pockets with dry nuggets of Shooey’s food.

“Here boy,” I hold a piece of dog food on the palm of my hand. Shooey gobbles it down.

“Is it good?” I ask. I pop one into my mouth.

“It’s like crunchy, corned beef hash. Like Crispy Treats.”

“Crispy treats are so nutritious, taste good too, and really delicious.” I sing to the tune in my head. “Maybe we could sell these,” I tell Shooey.

Son of God – another snippet

The Fourth Looks Like a Son of God

“Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench,” (1) I read.

You can do anything! I tell my Friend as the man begins sermonizing.

“They thought God was like Baal,” says the man. “But Baal was just wood. God is not wood.”

He leans over and hits Charles, “You better pay attention to this! It’s for your good and you need it.”

“God can send down fire any time He wants. He has the power and will punish you.” He swivels his head and points his finger as his glare reaches each of us. “You have to be like Elijah and trust Him and no one else.” He catches his breath, “Are there any questions?”

“What is a Son of God?” I ask.

“Jesus is the Son of God,” the man says.

“Was Jesus in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?” My mouth relishes the hard kh’s and slows so I say bed-nego and not ben-dego.

“That’s Daniel,” the man says. He flips the pages of his Bible. “God sends an angel to help Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” He says “ben-dego”.”

“The one who looks like the Son of God isn’t Jesus?” My eyes try to bore into the man’s mind.

“No,” he says. “Jesus is in the New Testament. In Daniel, the Son of God is an angel.”

“Oh,” I say.

Weren’t You there? I ask as the man begins his long, long prayer.

(1) 1 Kings 18:38, KJV

Image source

“I Wanna Bi-i-te You!”

“Bébé! I didn’t hurt you!”

“Why are you in here alone?” the man asks. “Come read in the living room.”

I carry my book into the other room. Marie practices the piano. The woman embroiders a cloth while watching Claire sew. I sit in the rocker. Under cover of my book, I suck my thumb.

“Take your thumb out of your mouth!” the man says.

I pull my thumb out and continue reading.

“I’ll just have to eat them all up.” The man is sitting on the floor with Ames. He bites his leg.

Ames gushes, “Do it again, daddy! Do it again!”

The man nips his legs again.

He looks up and sees me watching, “Come here. Let me see your legs.”

I remain still. He grabs my arm and pulls me onto the floor. He pushes up the leg of my jeans and bites me.

“Don’t!”

I push at him, struggle to escape. He puts one leg over my body. I continue to struggle.

He smacks my thigh, “That doesn’t hurt you! Ne fais pas le bébé!”
He bites me again. And again.

I sink my teeth into the part of his leg that is exposed between his sock and trouser. He jumps.

I sob, “I wanna bi-i-te you! I wanna bi-i-te you!”

The man hold me at arms length, laughs, “I wanna bi-i-te you!” He smacks my bottom. “Bébé! I didn’t hurt you! Go change for bed.”

The woman’s voice stalks me as I limp away, “I wanna bi-i-te you!”

As An Eagle Stirreth Up Her Nest

“‘As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him,’(1) Rev. Pell read. ‘Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.’(2)

“Turn to Deuteronomy 32, verse 11,” Rev. Pell says.

Cough. Cough. Pages rustle.

“No one prays for a lion’s den, a fiery furnace, for Judas, for the Cross,” Rev. Pell says. “We pray for help, relief, to avoid or at least escape hardship. But one day, God sees that we’ve grown a little older. And He stirs up the nest and pushes us out to fly. God uses struggle to make us stronger. He doesn’t work under the limitations that we do.”

His words make pictures in my mind of a giant eagle pushing me out of my nest. My back hurts. I am tired. I stare at my shoes and lay my head on my Friend’s shoulder.

“Struggles leave us screeching like a young eaglet tipped from the nest. But then we rise in joy on wings that have been strong when we thought we were falling. Because “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Rev. Pell continues, “The new development has been difficult for all of us. So many have moved away and our church is struggling. Calvary Baptist is also struggling. We’ve met and prayed with their pastors and deacons. We really believe God is calling us to join both churches into one. Over the coming weeks we’ll be working to bring us all together.”

“Don’t dawdle,” the woman says to our retreating backs as we go to change out of our church clothes. “We’re going to watch a movie after lunch.”

After fried Spam sandwiches, we find places in the living room. I sit tailor fashion on the floor. The beautiful Lady visits to Bernadette.

“Don’t sit so close to the TV.”

I jump.

“What’s wrong with you?” the man asks. “Why are you so jumpy? What mischief are you plotting?”

I remain silent. The image of a woman whose face looks like mine haunts me. Her scent fills my nose. Heavy, dark hair ripples down her back. She sings; I can almost hear the music.

Gerard asks, “Can Mary come to earth as God’s messenger?”

The man says, “Yes, if God wills it.”

Deuteronomy 32:11

Isaiah 40:31

The Song of Bernadette (Twentieth Century Fox 1945)

Je Te Tuerai! – A Snippet

Albert,” the woman calls. “The sink is clogged.”

I follow the man into the kitchen. Scummy water lies stagnant in the sink.

The man fetches his toolbox from the laundry room.

“Qu’est que c’est?!” he demands when a long snake becomes stuck in the drain. “I’ll have to take it apart.”

He squeezes his broad shoulders under the sink. The other children have come in. We watch him work. We are silent.

“Hand me my big wrench,” his muffled voice calls.

Gerard hands him a big metal tool.

“C’est quoi…” he mutters. “Cereal!” The volume rises, “A whole box. Who poured a box of cereal down the drain?! Qui la fait?!”

He stands up banging his elbow.

“You stupid children?! Who did this?! Who was in the kitchen?!”

“Marie was washing dishes,” Claire says.

“You!”

The man grabs Marie by one wrist, his face is red.

“Gerard, get my strap!”

Gerard brings the hard leather strap that hangs above the washer.

“Crack!” The strap descends. “You did this, didn’t you?!”

“No! I didn’t do it!” Marie cries. “Please, daddy! Please daddy!” she pleads

“Je te tuerai!” he shouts. “Je te tuerai!”

He jerks her by the wrist. He reins blows on her back. Her white, uniform blouse becomes saturated with her red blood.

Snippet: Family Bible

The big, gold edged book rests on a crocheted lace doily atop the revolving bookstand in the dining room bay window. I reach for it.

“Don’t play with that,” the woman says in passing.

I follow her, “I want to read the big Bible.”

Wrinkles appear between her eyebrows. “That’s our family Bible. It’s very precious.”

“I’ll be careful.”

She sighs, “Are your hands clean?”

I lift them.

“Hmm.”

She scrubs them at the kitchen sink with a little brush until my skin is red. Then she places the Bible on the dining room table.

“You may stand on the chair and read for a little while.”

I remove my sneakers and climb up.

One hand braces me against the polished table, I turn the pages. One reads, “Births, Deaths, Marriages.” “François, 3 March 1975” is the last entry. “Ames. 6 November 1969” is written above François’ entry. My name does not appear.

Where am I?

Dark fear suffuses my legs and stomach. I know I must not ask them. I turn the pages and begin reading Genesis.

“Eight Books!”

A small sign on the light wood desk reads “LIBRARIAN.”

“May I help you?” a curly haired woman asks.

The woman glances at my summer reading list which she keeps in her bag. “We’re looking for Pippi Long-Stocking,” she says. “What else would you like to read?” she asks.

“Can I have five?” I ask.

The librarian asks, “Do you have a library card?”

“Yes!” I say.

“Then, yes. You may take out five.”

My feet bounce me up and down.

“How old are you?” the curly haired woman asks.

I hold up five fingers.

The woman sighs. “She’s six.”

I’m five, I tell my Friend.

The librarian leads me to a bookcase.

“You should be able to read these books,” she says.

I pick up Good Night, Moon and sigh.

“That’s a good book,” she says.

“It’s a baby book,” I say. “Do you have Lion, Witch and Wardrobe?”

“That’s probably a little too advanced for you,” she says.

“I can read it,” I say. “I’ve read almost the whole Bible. Except he didn’t like it when I said the Woman clothed with the sun is Mary.”

The curly haired woman chuckles.

“But I did read it!” I say stamping my foot.

“I’m sure you did.” The chuckle remains in her eyes.

“The Narnia books are over here.“ She leads me to a tall bookshelf. “You’ll need the stool.”

Standing on a small stool, I reach for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Eight Books“Oh!” I cry. “There are one, two, three, four, five …six more!”

I pull the pastel books in their impervious cellophane covers down and carry them to the librarian’s desk.

“May I take three extra?” I ask.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I can only allow you to take five.”

I stand at the desk staring at each cover. Which can I leave behind?

The woman’s voice sounds behind me, “Did you find what you wanted?”

“Yes, but I can’t take them all out.” My mouth is upside down.

The woman tells the librarian, “You can put the extra books on my card.”

My smile pours itself into my eyes, sinks into my feet.

“Eight books!” I softly announce to my Friend. “Eight books!”

Photographs Of Me – Another Snippet

I carry a large white envelope in the crook of my left arm.

“Photographs of me,” I whisper to my Friend.

The trees and rocks appear crisp and solid. My face is in none of the photographs on the polished tables in the living room and hanging on the wall above the stairs. Neither do I appear in the family photograph that resides in a golden frame in next to the woman’s bed.

The man is sitting on the porch.

“Look, Daddy,” Claire says. “We got our school pictures.”

She shoves her envelope into the man’s hand.

“Did you bring me anything?” Ames and Charles demand.

“You’re home early,” Eve says.

“I finally sold the garage.” His voice is gruff. “I deserve a little time off.”

He strokes Claire’s hair, “Let’s see what you’ve got!”

He reviews each child’s photographs. Finally, he peers at my prints for a long moment.

“You could be a model when you grow up,” he says.

A Woman Whose Face Looks Like Mine – Snippet

We stand and sing: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” The woman’s voice, so beautiful alone, screeches amid the other voices. I wince. An old woman sings the words but doesn’t know the music. I wince again. The man prays for a long time. We prayed the wrong Lord’s Prayer.

The senior pastor stands, “Sit down, please.” When we are quiet he continues, “We all know, what with the woods development, it’s been difficult with so many moving away. Calvary Baptist is struggling too. The pastors and deacons from both have met and prayed together. We really believe God is calling us to join both churches into one. Over the next weeks, we’ll start the transition that will bring us all together.”

There are fried Spam sandwiches instead of soup for lunch. Afterwards, we settle in the living room for the Sunday movie. It’s in black and white. I sit tailor fashion on the floor, absorbed in Mary’s visits to Bernadette.

“Don’t sit so close to the TV.”

I jump.

“What’s wrong with you?” the man asks. “Why are you so jumpy? What can you be thinking about?”

I remain silent. An image hangs in my mind: A woman whose face looks like mine. Her scent is still in my nose. Her long, dark hair falls rippling down to her waist. She laughs and I laugh too. She sings to me; I almost hear the words.

Gerard asks with a sneer, “Can Mary come to earth as God’s messenger?”

The man replies, “Yes — if God wills it.”

A Snippet

You must have a nap today,” the woman says. “I can hardly wake you each morning, you’re sleepy all day.”

After lunch, she sends me to my room. I climb under the large bureau, place my throat over the stretcher, and wait for the executioner. As I wait, I suck my thumb and rub my private area. My Friend strokes comfort into my back.

“When will the executioner come?” I whisper. The executioner will chop off my head.

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