alterations (Back’s story)

“Oh they’ve known about the armless giant who stands in the field quite a long time now. The most dreaded thing of all is when he turns his back on them, forgets who they are. Then he’s gone. That moment will arrive soon enough.”

“Will it?”

“Yes.”

“He’s the Ant?”

“Ant’s *replacement*.”

“Yes.”

—–

Both stared at Clyde for some reason. Instinct probably. He was hiding something behind those steely blue eyes of his. Perhaps he stole something. Perhaps he blew someone away. Maybe something between these extremes.

Some say he was rolling in dough when he had none before. No one knows where he got the money. Looks like steel it is. More precious than gold in these parts. Lots of bridges, lots of ships. Metal all used up; none to go around for other purposes. Easier to corner it on the marketplace.

Add in a corrupt mayor and you’ve got the makings of a scandal. But someone with a lot of money has to be behind it, at the center of everything, its pumping heart, supplying cash to keep the crinimal machine well oiled. Why do people do this kind of thing? A challenge, perhaps; notoriety that results. Too smart for their britches with no other proper outlet. If only they could take up painting, letters, dance, drama, poetry, reading. Stock marketplace is their only toilet fodder. How much is steel, how much *to* steal?

In the olden days such metal obsessed people might have turned to alchemy for creative release, done their souls some actual good instead of harm.

—–

“Easy as changing a 4 wheel car into a 6 wheel car.”

“Two problems,” returned W. “1st, there’s no such thing as a magnae.”

“Sure: plural of magnate. There was more than one Jay Gold. Says so in the name: Golds.”

“Highly unlikely,” opined W. “Then the extra letter in named, speaking of name.”

“Alternate spelling.”

—–

“All this is more believable than Goldsboro as a last name. Goldsboro is a *town* name.”

“True enough, I suppose. What will you do with the old sign, the sunny one?”

“Town dump; history successfully altered; 21 years of misery averted.”

“And… this will bring back the alchemy?”

“Might.”

“Better get to the people in the car.”

—–

“Dad-*dy*. How far til Uncle Roy’s? Huh, huh?” Junior held his crotch and did a small jig beside the added 5th or 6th wheel now, indicating he had to wee really bad. Mother Wanda Wannabee took him inside to the Tastee Freeze. “*Junior* gets to go inside,” continued Tommy with the complaining, watching them go through the front door of place. Last of the lunch crowd, as it turns out.

“Now now, Tommy. You know Uncle Roy’s cooked us up a nice meal of mashed potatoes and gravy jam and some other stuff. Steelton’s only 7 more miles. You can hold it in, I mean, hold out til then.”

“Ooohhhhhhh. Just… one… hot… dog.”

“This is not the place for that.”

Someone in the distance shot out one tire, then another and another and another and another… and… another. They were stuck here for a while. Tastee Freeze it is.

(to be continued)

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