There it was balanced just so on the couch’s arm. Everything was the same. Manila colored, red lettered, and all – it was Hant’s letter. The very correspondence he’d so recently consigned to the fire.
“No.” He said rising to his feet and reeling.
“No, no, no, no , no….”
‘They drugged me.’
‘Keep it together.’
He once again unfastened the pin.
“I know you are a fool…” That first familiar line struck him like a blow.
He tossed it onto the coffee table. Some of the topmost pages scattered.
There was that poem.
“They dance and play,
They with silver skin,
Sleek in the twilight,
Far from the day,
Children of the black sun,
Spirits so bright,
See how they run,
Though without wings,
Above all kings,
That sprang all this,
By a distant kiss,
Apollo, o Apollo, appeal, to the maze of Saturn’s weal,
And send them as a dance
From this morbid trance
Give a root,
For the runner,
For the runner,
But just so,
Be sure to do,
Only if you know,
The black sun,
O the black sun…”
‘Must be the way the page is weighted, or the way it’s stapled, for it to fall open like that.’ Jim frantically theorized as his fracturing psyche grasped for the convenient nepenthe of amnesia. The document’s recent destruction was forgotten. After all he did drink heavily. He may well have dreamed the whole thing.
He looked out his window at the early evening. There they were. Rings, those damned rings, spread concentric and overlapping, in a dizzying maze pregnant with suggestion.
Jim shook his head and looked away.
But, his ears were still open. The sounds that sauntered through them were not pleasing. Amidst the incessant buzz of cicadas there was an occasional chirping.
Jim considered scattering the hicks with the Mossberg. But last night’s ordeal or… nightmare had dampened his spirit. He put on the nearest record.
“Abasalom, Absalom, why do you not heed?” A familiar nordic lilt flitted through the mystic stillness.
Jim arrested the spin with his finger. There was a green apple there in the center. It was Abbey Road.
Jim was about to play the record again, to confirm that he hadn’t hallucinated the obviously dubbed-in intro, when he heard three steady knocks.
He grabbed the Mossberg left leaning on the couch.
“Who is it?” He asked fingering the trigger.
“Dutch.” Came the plain clear answer.
“What the hell are ya doin’ here Dutch? Isn’t it past your bedtime?”
“I got somethin ya need.”
“I doubt it.”
“Ya really wanna disappear into the Earth?” Dutch asked coldly.
Normally Jim would have written this off, and told him to go fuck himself but too much had happened in too quick a succession.
As the giant entered Jim was overwhelmed by a strong chemical odor.
“Ya smell like a fuckin’ janitor…what the hell is up man?”
“Hant’s way is better, but this should work for ye… for a time.” Dutch said in a concerned tone.
The giant leaned through the still open door and wrestled in an enormous metal barrel that wobbled and came to rest with a liquid thud.
“The fuck is that?” Jim demanded pinching his nose at the pungent present.
“….Clorox…do I look like a maid…isn’t this place clean enough?”
“It’s for them.”
Jim laughed. “I thought they were fairies.”
“Goblins, faeries, demons, it don’t matter. They love this stuff. Gets em drunker than a striplin ater his first moonshine.”
“Uhuh…” Jim laughed. This he could handle. It was actually amusing. Even if his immideate suspicion regarding illicit drug manufacture were true. The story was adorable.
‘Drunk fuckin goblins…’ He continued to chuckle.
“Ja, they love the smell of it. I left trails n cups o the stuff all through the wood. Keep em distracted till ya do yer homework.”
“Uhuh…” Jim said glancing at the letter.
“Mmmhmm, I’d suggest ya read that real careful like. Gonna take ye a bit to digest. In the meantime do like I did put this out in tins or whatever. Spray it in trails. They got a nose for it. For as smart as they are they’re kinda like bugs…it’ll send em in a tizzy. Kinda funny to watch em run ater it.”
“Ok.” Jim said smirking.
“Ye don’t believe now. But ye will. Ye’ll make real good use of this.”
“I’m sure.” Jim said.
The giant gave him an appraising look.
“Ya want a drink buddy?” Jim asked good naturedly. The story had amused him and he didn’t want solitude to bring fresh worries.
Dutch shook his massive head slowly.
“Nah, I must get goin’. Gotta look after Ma.”
“Afore I go…we need to put this in the basement. Otherwise this’ll just bring em here.”
“Ok.” Jim said. He had no complaints about removing the eye watering cleaning product as far from his living spaces as possible.
Jim nearly fell as he and Dutch double-teamed the unwieldy demon booze down the steep stairs.
He really wasn’t keen on being alone despite the rise in spirit that the comical redneck lore had caused.
“Ya sure ya don’t want a drink?” Jim said pointing to the mantel.
Dutch simply shook his head and departed in that charecteriscally efficient manner.
Jim shook his head. “Where the hell do ya get a barell of fuckin Clorox…Boy, am I gonna have stories to tell…”
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