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,
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
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
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