looming

“I don’t get it Elberta. How come you turned out so nice and I came out so… *bad*?”

“Aww, it’s just the place we’re from, Filbert (= Toothpick),” she spoke prettily. Everything about her was dainty and proper. No Southern slur to her voice, even though, like her brother Filbert/Toothpick, she was originally from the deep South. She downed chicken after chicken just like the rest of ’em, but never licking and smacking her fingers. Put her overalls on one suspender at a time, but with demure and grace. No shirts for anyone — she couldn’t get away from that. Just pants, and overalls if you’re lucky. You get one pair and then when you wear those out that’s it, unless someone dies in the family and you inherit theirs. There’s been rumors of murders just because of this. And then you have to make sure another sibling or cousin or something hasn’t been pushed out of a womb and grown up fast enough in front of you to earn theirs right on the spot, before the grave dirt’s hardened and the mourning flowers wilted. Wild flowers we’re talking about here, because no one from their parts can afford the shop ones. Like city lady Norm the Cashier’s exotic blend of Amazonia specimens over in the Black Ice district. No south of the border for them. They’ll never move beyond the front part of the palindrome involving Panama.

So here they sit in front of a dividing canal, one man and one plan. A canal going nowhere — Elberta had detected there was no flow to the current early on, but still came to fish here. If only for the beer and the company of her brother. Here, down in this sunken channel of rock and cement, she could escape the stares of the others. The ogles of the ogres she likes to think of it. “We are a pair,” she said, leaning over toward him and elegantly handing him the empty, with the understanding that he’d stand up, open the box cooler, and give her a full one in return. He was obedient, but yet he was also a slave again. A slave to tradition. Brothers usually marry their sisters in the deep South culture, with twins no exception. Usually. He counted the days and weeks in his mind. 17. Just enough to get settled into the new temple with the new avatar God and make arrangements. He was hoping their parents would actually go out and buy him a new pair of overalls for the wedding but we’ll see. Usually doesn’t happen that way; usually someone has to die as stated. Uncle Luther has the flu, Elbert can’t help but think here. He imagines another funeral before the wedding with freshly donned dungarees.

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