Walter was a news anchor. He pushed out every word with force and emphasis. Walter used a lot of words a lot of the time. Listening to others only complicated things. Walter came home one night, his six-year old son tugged at his freshly dry-cleaned suit.
“Daddy, daddy, there’s gonna be a solar nami!”
Walter kept walking toward the kitchen, he wanted his Scotch. “What [beat beat] are you talking about?”
“A solar nami is coming and it might make all the lights go out! Out, out!!”
“A solar [beat] nami.”
Walter knew that his son was lost again, his mind was constantly in space camp. Walter knew, because Walter reported the news. And he had not reported anything as insane as a solar tsunami. He poured his Scotch into his beveled glass with one ice cube, put there mostly for the sound. He went over to the couch and told the boy to play in his room. He turned on the TV. It was time to watch the re-broadcast of his newscast on cable. He liked to study and improve. On the TV a very serious Walter said, “Good Evening [beat beat] and welcome [beat] to Eye [beat] Witness Neewwwsss. Walter was leaning back against the beige suede couch when in an instant the world went dark. He felt a panic spreading from his chest. He picked up the remote and kept pushing the button as his terrified son tripped over a toy while running into the room.
Return to This Week’s Flash
She looks out of place in this desk. It is the same kind of desk you find in any crappy middle school in any crummy town. But she is glamour in this desk. She takes her compact out while the Professor drones on about the importance of a thesis statement and after that she takes out a tube and puts it on her lips. It is a clear gloss that really just makes her natural deep pink color shiny. She turns her lips in toward each other like a Venus Flytrap and she rubs them together. The obese kid with the long ponytail who always wears the Metallica T-shirts watches her. His mouth opens and hangs, he leaves his eyes open but he doesn’t seem to be there anymore. She takes out a bottle of lotion and squeezes some out on the palm of her hand and rubs her lips together again and starts to rub the lotion into her palms and into the backs of her hands and she seems to be taking such pleasure in all of it and he is with her, he is with her, he is there in her own little world.
I don’t know what happened to all the men. Used to wonder if they killed them. For a while I even thought maybe they just kept hatchin’ girls by themselves. I called them all my aunt, but come to find out some of them weren’t really my aunt. They were cousins or friends of cousins.
One afternoon I was in the house on Brick Street when one of them told me to wash the collards. “I don’t want to,” I says.
“I don’t care what you want, fancy pants. Get on in there and wash those collards,” she hollered back.
I went into the kitchen where it was even hotter than in the other rooms. They had been bakin’ that morning and the tiny tiny window over the sink was no help and the air just stood still. I walked over to the scratched-white basin that one of them had filled with warm water. I started to take the collards out of the paint bucket on the floor and I put them into the water. Once they were in, I got up on my toes and I pressed the collards down, and up with the rising water came the biggest and scariest hundred-legged black bug you have ever seen. I screamed and jumped up and down and one of them came in and yelled, “This child ain’t right in the head.”
I ran straight past her toward the screened-door hoping like anything it wasn’t locked.