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  • I remember the bastard immersed in the impossible sunlight. His gamecock was reeling, scuttling to and fro, gusting its wings and dropping like a rock from the shock of the loyal line, the manacle around its leg. He was smoking a Marlboro 100, thinking about his new house, overlooking the farmed fields, crowded river, and bruised grass. The sunlight pounced his beat-up body, a vain visible riding the side of his forehead. Sweat outlined the rim of his blue Kentucky Wildcats hat. He was telling me about the steady dullness of pain that followed the years.
    Wisdom doesn’t come with age, son. You have to live to get that.

    Yeah, I think you’re right.

    These people ‘round here don’t get that.


    The insipid dirt-colored house exhibited the skills of ex-con carpenters, hired to replace portions of the deserted shelter. A swift kick in the ass would have made the house tip, fall or fly. I don’t really know the description I want to use because I was obsessed with anger when I had set aside the time to think about the absurdity of the place or life. The absurdity of life, anyway, isn’t really another story.
    When I was born Bud drove to the hospit’l, doin’ ninety down the highway to keep me from bein’ adopted. Dad was in prison and Mom din’t want me. A family of blacks, it was. He wasn’t racist. Have you seen any ‘round here not doin’ drugs? He came to that hospit’l, took me from the bed next to Mom, ‘nd drove me back to his house with every lawm’n in the county foller’n ‘im. Bud Lovins: never finish’d school, never learn’d to read, couldn’t write worth a damn. His good friend Judge heard on the scanner and went ninety to Bud’s with the adoption papers in ‘is hand. Knew Bud couldn’t read or write. Sign’d ‘em papers with ‘n X.


    His life consisted mainly in work and the reverse of work. For ten hours a day he’d lay block, ten more hours drinking beer. For breaks he’d smoke weed—said it energized him. The days would come ceaselessly without compromise.
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