Charm said: “Lowy beat up Reggie. Bad.”
“You dirty shit, what a bad fuck you are,” Nat yelled and gave me the finger.
I should have killed Reg when I had the chance, high on amphetamine, up all night, the 30:06 at my side. Pot growers like him would never rat me out to the police. People there had to use the shitter, they would find him. Dead or alive.
“We’re blood brothers,” Nat said. “Things get evened out over time. Better believe it.”
“You make me puke. I believe nothing. Try that.”
“Why did you beat him? You know he’s just a runt.”
“Ask Charm.” She held her head low, nodding, mimicking beatnik exploitation movies.
“Charm, you there? Why did Lowy beat up your ex-boyfriend?” Nat asked. She lolled her head to one side, looking stoned. I bet she even faked that too.
“He treated me like dirt. I was such a loving person. Why would Lowy beat him up? Ask Lowy.”
“I’m asking you, dammit.” Nat stood over her, and then massaged her head as if she were a pet raccoon. The door to Roy’s nearby trailer open, a raccoon had come through the doorway, he passed out drunk from a gallon of cheap wine. It invaded his mangy hole, destroying everything within reach. He told me he wept, the raccoon smashed bottles of wine to hell, Roy’s communions wiped out. He needed wine, living soused, little Suze taken away from him. Meg and he had broken up, brother Roy now alcoholic.
I saw the aftermath, but predominately I lived on the flat, though today I had clambered down its edge, a valley of sharp stones and trickling water beneath me. I could not bear to hear Neil Diamond songs on AM radio and be satisfied anymore.
I no longer felt the need for isolation. Something drove me. I now wanted more of a social life, here with others in the cabin.
Charm stuttered, ran her hands over her the thighs of her baggy jeans, and said, “I found God. He lives in the outhouse behind the A-frame, down at the bottom where jewels and angels live.” Well, that was original, I thought. Generally, she had no gesture that was not someone else’s, her words and phrases copied from others. Perhaps I was starter dough, mother dough, its fermentation made a large sourdough brought out the latent substance and aura residing in Charm’s firmament.
“Why, Lowy, why?” Nat was agitated. What was in this blunt?
“I smashed him in the head with a shovel, kicked in his ribs. I heard them crack, then dragged him to the outhouse and broke the toilet open and forced him down to the bottom of the hole.” I had no idea either, using Charm as an excuse. Was she worth it? A big No and a little Yes.
The Chocolate Milk Challenge:
by Leopold McGinnis