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IDYLLOPUS PRESS : BIG SOFA : Guest Writers : Brien Engel : Interspecies southern gothic girly novella



Interspecies southern gothic girly novella

by Brien Engel

Chapter One

Copyright © 1999 Brien Engel


Now there are 27 tires all stacked in the back of this field where I live. That's how I keep track of the money Papa says is mine as he made investments for my college. I used to go looking for frogs and stuff in the tires after it rained. One summer the skeeters were bad and I got real sick and almost died from fever. I remember the hospital bed in Walson and laying there having this dream where I was floating in space. All these fish swam up out of nowhere talking and saying strange stuff like, yeah, you know where it's at now, don't you! Or, hey little buddy! When are we gonna do ..!

When are we gonna something. I can't remember. But it was weird cause I was scared and feeling real good all at the same time. You're not from the hospital, are you.

I had a feeling you were all right. I'm telling about the tires and the fishes dream cause it ties in with my story about Mabel, but right now I have to change where I'm sitting cause the place in my side is acting up, but that's another story. I got a sore butt anyways.

So back in the branch it was a fine fall afternoon and just us. I don't remember some things but after she hit my leg is when everything got peaceful like I hadn't ever seen. She talked about love and I listened well and then and there it happened.

My head grew long skinny arms down into the water toward her and every time I felt surprised they fffft! went away. I'd look away and back and she'd move like she was going to whomp me again. So I tried harder not to stray and tried not to think about Papa and the others out looking for us either. When I did one time is when she came closest. I had to stop and back up and start again and each time I learned more how to grow those arms but then I figured out they weren't arms but whiskers.

It gets more strange what happened. I think I was a catfish for awhile in the branch with her 'cause I didn't weigh anything and there wasn't up or down. One time Sonny killed a snake and the snake was curling this way and that and that is a good description of my insides when I thought, over there. Because I went over where there was real fast like something turning inside out. I was moving around and another thing is I kept seeing freckles.

All the while I learned about the future of humans and all walking and flying beasts on the earth and it was real bad, but I learned what to do and what to tell about it too. Some can make out ok.

But the best part was being in love with Mabel. I felt like I could swim in the middle of her eyeball the way it looked at me earlier and when I thought that, I heard her laugh like beautiful music filling up everywhere and everywhere kept getting bigger, and it was written right then and was perfect. And I realized nobody's heard it or will ever hear it except me. And I kept learning more of it and faster and her voice changed to billions of voices like stars, all saying the same things just right. Then everything burst open like a fall pig. My insides turned white and I think everything turned white and just then I don't know what happened.

When I was a human again I was in the branch above my knees and had to start all over again with what was my name and present location and so on like I had to play a part in a movie. But I knew better.

It was late afternoon and the leaves crackled on the trees when the wind came up. It sounded different. I looked over at her sleeping peacefully in the far side of the dam, her tail moving side to side so slow.

So now I'll tell it with her real name which was Marble. But I wouldn't have understood the meaning of that name before our first wade in the branch so it had to be Mabel at first. I don't understand why it went that way either, just that it makes more sense now.

to chapter three



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