Daniel J. Newcomer
Published: July 12th, 2015
Daniel J. Newcomer and his brother used to strike fear in the babysitter by repeatedly riding their tricycles into the closed garage door of their Monroe, Wisconsin home. He hasn't changed much in recent years, and instead uses words and books as opposed to a little red trike. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Daniel worked as an English teacher and freelance journalist in Indonesia. His work on the 2013 Tunisia revolutions was published in 34th Parallel Magazine. He now lives in Southern Italy working on a novel and doing other things. He said his writing inspirations come from Holly Golightly and The Marlin from The Old Man and the Sea.
She yelled at him. She said terrible, hurtful things. Her voice rumbled like the echoes of a bass note on an empty steel drum, and she resembled the ape pounding on that drum with a stick. Remnants of platonic energy had quickly turned kinetic, and it sent waves of static oozing from each hair follicle. Blood vessels swelled in her eyes, and they reminded him of the way fire consumes ping pong balls: slowly at first, and then completely. She yelled at him, and he prayed she would sneeze so that her eyes would explode from their sockets and dangle like a Newton’s cradle. Only then could he escape this damned billet.
“You’re a sick bastard! Your mother would be so ashamed of you, you know that? She should be ashamed of you. Coming to our house, our house for chrissake. And what? What? You think time has passed so sweetly?”
Cristobal fingered some coins in his pocket. His right steel-toe boot, untied, would certainly be a nuisance if he had to run for it.
“I never want to see you again!” she said.
Once, their always-smoldering ashtray was nothing more than a vessel to dispose chain-smoked cigarette ashes, a companion for Cristobal while he watched his documentaries. Now, it soared through the air, ash and cigarette butts flying in every direction. Although she was the catalyst, the ashtray’s potential energy manifested as a violent cigarette butt centrifuge that collided with the central vein running down his forehead. The revelation knocked Cristobal unconscious for just a second, and he returned to find her with both hands over an open mouth, eyes wide.
Warm liquid trickled along the inside of his eye socket, and the creases on his fingers filled with blood as he wiped his forehead. The ashtray rested upside-down, recovering after the kinetic release and conjuring new potentials. Many weapons penetrated their pseudo, one-story Tudor Revival home with the rotting insides, desolate stucco siding, and shameful porch Cristobal installed himself when he bought the place. With the help of the now-sad, now-violently angry catalyst who, at the moment, has finally shut her mouth, their hardcover, deluxe edition of Round Barns of Wisconsin could be a hammer to smash his brains; the remote for their 62-inch high-definition LCD television was a dagger she could shove down his throat; Cristobal loved his three-seater Italian leather couch, but she could just as easily drag him under it and slam its cute and curly couch-feet onto his chest until his lungs coughed up his ribs.
She could do all this with nothing more than an IKEA magazine.
“Cristobal…oh my God…I…I’m so sorry,” she said.
On his hands and knees and head lowered, Cristobal raised an open palm to stop her approach. Blood dripped and instantly stained the carpet.
“Get away from me, woman,” he said, his voice low and rough, “Don’t you take a step closer.”
“Good. Two steps to the left now.”
He flicked his wrist as if shooing a fly, as if he had just finished washing his hands. She took those two steps and Cristobal rose to his feet, lifting his head last. New tears had softened her mascara.
“Are…Are you okay?” she asked.
Cristobal held up his hand and his legs wobbled, forcing him to use the potentially-murderous desk stand as support until his vision cleared. Her two semi-translucent figures bounced back and forth, and her fish-eyed face with rose-red lipstick and bleeding mascara frightened him.
“I’m going out for a root beer float,” he said, “Now, don’t you move and don’t you speak.”
“But Cristobal! I’m…”
“I said don’t you speak! I’m getting some ice cream and that’s that.”
He wiped more blood from his face and flung it to the carpet, and with each wobbly step, Cristobal advanced towards the front door. On passing, the moment they were closest together, she reached for his arm.
“Stay,” he said.
She reached across herself and began to wail. Cristobal paused at the door, and the broken LP screeching violin of her cries frustrated and depressed him. He didn’t look back as he slammed the door, transforming her high-pitched cry. Instead, moths dinged off their dim-yellow porch light, flies experienced death in a blue-toned electrified zap at the Leimans’ next door, and the streetlights lining their rickety street glowed and hummed under the red skies of a Wisconsin early-autumn dusk.
“Betcha I could understand those moths,” he said to himself, lighting a cigarette and stepping through a large hole in their torn screen porch door, “I Betcha.”
He meant to fix that door, but stepping outside to the potholes in the street, children’s bicycles littered across the Schmidt’s lawn, and his rusting 1968 Plymouth Fury convertible, a beautiful home would seem pompous. The full moon of a September evening, high above the sprays of sunset reds and blood oranges, rested above his head and through their sparse and (probably) cancerous oak. It used to have the nicest branches in the neighborhood, where Cristobal would spend unemployed winter afternoons with a cup of hot chocolate, making sure the local kids wouldn’t fall and break their necks on his property. Now, a bird wouldn’t dare.
Cristobal enjoyed the bright blue poise that the sky held on country nights such as this, and he strolled down the road with his hands in his pockets and his eyes directed upwards at the electric street lights. He felt he could fill his lungs completely and deeply. A crow on a rooftop screamed overhead.
Maybe Jane would like a root beer float, he thought.
He and Jane were in the same Hillsboro Book Club, the only club in town that met on Wednesday evenings, and it was his copy of Catcher in the Rye that rested on Jane’s nightstand. It wasn’t that Cristobal enjoyed reading so much, and it was only his wife that introduced him to Jane and literature by dragging him to the urine-acrid basement of the First Presbyterian Church. The sole reason he read, however, was so that he could intelligently argue with his wife. Jane, on the other hand, never came across a book she really liked. She was the Holden Caulfield of the 20th century novel. She was catching pretentious, unrecognizable imaginations from running off the cliff. She would catch them and burn them, and flame would reflect off her pupils like little fire demons. It was this, and more, that made Cristobal enjoy punishing and caressing her with the same slap of bare flesh.
Behind the counter of the Hillsboro Root Beer Stand, a relic from the 50s with its drive-up diner style, Clyde Hanson ran back and forth under fluorescent lights, wiping prep tables, sweeping the floor, and stacking large cans of ice cream in the walk-in freezer. A beat up, rusty Toyota with a broken headlight rested in the gravel drive-up, although Cristobal was more interested in the patient horse with its reigns wrapped to a wooden post that shouldn’t be there in the modern age. Tied to the horse was a small black buggy with one of those orange caution triangles on its rear. Underneath a wooden rooftop covering the Root Beer Stand and hanging over three picnic tables for Hillsboro’s most respected guests, an Amish family ate their malts and drank their root beer floats in silence. The mother, father, and daughter sat on one side of the picnic table, keeping their heads down while Clyde’s shadow quickly passed over them from one side and then the next.
“New truck, huh?”
“Oh, hey there, Cristobal. Jesus, what happened to your face? You got dried blood everywhere,” Clyde said, “I’ll be with ya’ in just one second with a towel. You okay?”
Cristobal nodded, leaned his back against the counter, one foot over the other with his arms crossed, and spit red on the gravel. The Amish woman looked up from her float and sneered under her light blue bonnet. Cristobal showed her the blood in his teeth and winked.
From behind him, Clyde spoke with a raspy, out-of-breath voice, “Here, just keep this. I can’t legally take it back.”
“Thanks. I’ve been dripping bloody bread crumbs the whole way here.”
“Man, I hear you loud and clear. Wife do that to you, or another one of your other special gals? Ah, never mind I don’t wanna know. What can I get for ya’, Cristobal. The usual?”
Breathing solely from his mouth and pushing up his glasses from the bridge of his nose, Clyde kept his nose pointed upwards and his eyes half drunk as he wiped his hands with a chocolate-stained towel.
“Jesus, man, take a breather there. I haven’t seen you work so hard since, well ever. What’s the running around for? And what’s with the new truck?”
“Oh,” Clyde said, “Oh! How in the world would you know? I just expecting everyone knows. You won’t believe it, but me? I got a date with Lacy Carmichael tonight. I asked in 4th period today, and you know, she likes robots I hear, so me and her are heading to the Dells tonight to catch a late-night movie.”
“You finally asked that little skank out? I’ll be damned. You’ve been dishing up my cream and soda for months now, and I’ve seen the way you look at her. Hell, I’ve seen you practicing!”
Clyde rolled up his sleeves.
“You better watch it, Cristobal. I’ve been hitting the gym and Lacy, Lacy likes muscles, but I’ll put ‘em to use on a dirty spic like you. I’ll kick your ass.”
Cristobal laughed. He’d known Clyde’s parents, and Clyde as well since he wore diapers and the first time he dragged on an inhaler. With the sleeves up and pale, sunburnt arms beneath, Clyde raised his arms and flexed.
“I’ll take you to the f*****' gun show,” he said.
“Alright, alright. Don’t go all Hulk on me, ya hear. The truck’s for the big date then?”
“It’s Uncle Jim’s. You know Jim, at Sunrise Bakery downtown? Man, he used to have nice cars before the farm went. Armarattis, Rolling Royces, and I think he even had one of Boeing 647s with the suicide doors. ”
The Amish family sat in silence, as if they were celebrating death, famine, and the lack of crops through peace. Any mention of the state of the farmland rendered even non-farmers such as Cristobal and Clyde lifeless.
“Hey, Cristobal, root beer float then? I gotta finish cleaning and head outta here A.S.A.P.”
Cristobal tapped on the counter and let Clyde do his magic. He could only do so much, however, as the reverent and electrifying tastes of this stand came from Amish cured creams hand-cranked with natural vanilla pods brought in from a farm near La Crosse, real A&W Root Beer specially sent to this empty pasture of the world, and no matter who was buying, a splash of cheap bourbon. Every item by itself was nothing, but each had potential, and when put together, it was the kinetic and sensual love of a root beer float in a clear float glass that relinquished life and reverence.
Cristobal paid and slipped a condom under the bill.
“Oh, oh I won’t need this. You understand it’s only the first date and I’m not gonna put moves on her. She’s a good girl. Actually,” Clyde lowered his voice, “She’s a virgin. She’ll wait until at least the third date, at least! I just want to show her I’m a nice guy.”
Cristobal pushed the condom further and smiled.
“No, no, no. You hold on to that, and by the fourth date, maybe the fifth, if we’re still going and all, I’ll ask you for that. Okay?”
Cristobal let it slide across the counter until it fell in Clyde’s hands.
“You’re too good of a friend but I won’t need it. Could you imagine? The first date? Woo-hoo!”
Suddenly, the thought of getting with Lacy Carmichael on the first date froze Clyde, and his eyes widened.
“She’s a skanky one, that one. You better be prepared to make her squeal like a piggy,” Cristobal said.
Clyde mouthed some inaudible words, a grunt and a steam, but soon arose from his trance as he started to wheeze. There were only three picnic tables occupying the Root Beer Stand, and one-half of one was already occupied by the Amish family. With his float in hand, Cristobal walked up to their table and sat directly across from the blue-bonnet wife. He moaned and groaned over the float’s electric tinkle and the smooth vanilla cream running down his throat, forcing the three across from him to look up at the same time, and then return to their hallow and grave demeanor.
The old man sported a white-tipped, gray beard that ran to his collarbone and small, Benjamin Franklin glasses sitting on the tip of his nose, and for about a minute, the two men caught eyes. They both sipped root beer and stared, unblinking nor unfurling their brows. The man kept his old and folky face muscles relaxed. His chest rose slowly for about eight seconds, and then he would exhale for another 10. He was the most Amish Buddhist Monk that Cristobal had ever seen, and although tens of thousands of Amish and Mennonite families dug into the hillsides and deep into the country, it was still strange for Cristobal to come across a family he had never seen before in Hillsboro. Their silent and profound contact broke immediately when another horse and buggy trotted up to the stand. Clyde had finished running around and was now rested on his elbows near the stand’s light switch, breathing audibly through his mouth.
A younger Amish man, less than 30 years old and wearing a blue button-up tucked into baggy jeans, jumped out of the buggy. Life returned to the Old Amish Man as he stood and took off his circular hat.
“Jacob. Oh, Jacob, how good to see you, my friend. Please tell me you’ve found Abram. We’re so worried that each of us literally feels sick. We can’t eat, nor can we think. We just sit here and worry,” the Old Man said.
“We haven’t found him yet, but we have nearly all the men in the community out on country roads from Ontario to Reedsburg. It’s dangerous out there, being nighttime and dark, but God put the moon at our side tonight. The cars can see us, and hopefully we’ll be able to see Abram. We’ve talked with every farm too, and while the men join us for the search, the women and children are at least keeping watch from home.”
“Good,” the Old Man nodded, “Keep up the good work. God bless.”
“Sorry to ask, but, how’d this even happen? I just had Abram in my field picking rocks this last spring. He seemed to be enjoying himself.”
The Blue-Bonnet Mother leaned closer to the men with empty, downcast eyes, and the daughter spooned more of her caramel malt ice cream, oblivious.
“Seems to be the same story these days. Same as the Kauffman’s boy, and that pretty girl from the Oesch family. She’s a prostitute now, I hear up in Minneapolis. Anyway, Abram was just playing with some English folk out on Owl Ave, and suddenly he wanted to leave and become a psychologist. Boy’s always been a talker. But he’s too young to make that decision. He’ll have his time, sure, but until then, he’s my son. And by God’s good name, we miss our boy.”
“By God’s grace I hope we find Abram.”
They said goodbye and Jacob hopped in his buggy, heading towards Cazenovia. In a series of slurps, Cristobal finished his float and, getting up, told the Amish family, “Good Luck.”
“Thank you, sir,” the Old Man said.
He returned to his family, solemn and heartbroken, and placing a hand on his wife’s back, he picked up his root beer float and sipped through the straw with tears in his eyes. Cristobal had enough problems in his life, and the depressing potential in a root beer float frustrated him. It betrayed him. Cristobal walked away from that stand taking in the deep, navy blue color of the sky. He examined the bright halo around the moon. He despised the street lights and lost children, and he even began to wonder how a raspy boy like Clyde could enjoy an evening with Lacy the Skank. Maybe it was a bet, but the potential of root beer, the dark sky and moon, and dirty young girls who squeal extensively in exchange for booze, it all depressed Cristobal. For two bottles of cheap vodka, she held the potential to go through half the Kama Sutra with a rag like Cristobal.
It was that potential Cristobal liked to see in the world, and his escapades brought him peace. With his hands stuffed into his pockets, Cristobal strolled along the ghastly and decrepit Main Street. He stared at a bare mannequin in a shop window and recognized Jane.
I should really apologize sometime, he thought.
The only problem was the potential weapons in the house. He could go to Jane’s, but she was pushing 70 years and wouldn’t be into physical activity past 9 in the evening. Cristobal then figured he could look for teenagers filled with so much potential only vodka could manifest. He could make new Lacy’s for strolls in the evening.
He kicked a rock as he walked, lazily swinging his foot back and then making rough contact. The half-asleep town, at first glance, offered nothing except the grim prospect of kicking rocks along the side of the road. Cristobal often saw kids throwing rocks on their way to school, growing up with sadness and disbelief that they were born in such a nothing life. With such dreary lamentations, the kids threw rocks once again on their way home from school. It was the same in the winter when snow piled up as high as their little waists.
In fact, people from this corner of middle Wisconsin didn’t think there was much in living, praying for a good harvest, and throwing rocks and snowballs around. But then, 50 years ago, a man named Ryne Duren from nearby Cazenovia threw so many rocks that he eventually became the relief pitcher for the New York Yankees. Rocks did have the potential to turn back country kids into big city pitchers who drank with the likes of Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle. These youth with their bored and bleak outlooks cannot possibly believe that they could one day be blamed for instigating Mantle’s alcoholism, and only if they threw rocks.
Furniture had the potential to be crime scene murder weapons, and even wheezy mouth-breathers like Clyde freakin’ Hanson had the potential to nail a Lacy Carmichael every once in a while.
Cristobal kept himself wrapped in his thoughts, hands in pockets, and feet kicking rocks until the creaking rhythm of a swing set made him look around to see exactly where he was walking. He saw rose bushes lining the sidewalk and towering, darkened junipers on the far side of an open field. He recognized this field as the place where kids and soccer moms congregate on Saturday mornings to yell at one another and drink juice afterwards. Shadows ran unobstructed along the field, and not even the street lights could expose the rusty swing set he never saw anyone use in the daytime.
In Hillsboro, nobody has any reason to go to the park at night, not even the teenagers. An aging man like Cristobal knows just as well that drinking and smoking dope was better reserved for the endless miles of country roads and sprawling acres of farmland. Yet, the creaks oozed from the park’s shadows and junipers, and its rhythm swayed back and forth while Cristobal narrowed his eyes to where he believed the swing set to be. He squinted deep into the park and formed his own panorama of the moonlight grit within.
“I see you,” he said softly, but loud enough for the swing to stop.
On the far corner of the park, and right behind the jungle-gym dome, the silhouette of a young boy was nothing more than his outline and frame, and the boy rocked consistently with the diminishing creaks. Cristobal stepped off the sidewalk and through the playset’s wood chip floor.
“Abram,” he said, “You know people are looking for you, right? You got the whole town up to their knees in dirt.”
The boy said nothing and kicked his legs forward, causing the swing to follow his momentum.
“Abram?” Cristobal continued.
Off the sidewalk and away from the streetlights, Cristobal’s vision improved and the moon penetrated the dissipating shadows. Abram wore dark jean overalls and a light blue button-up shit. He was staring at Cristobal and holding its rusty chains, kicking his legs outwards and letting them fall beneath. The swing went higher and higher. Cristobal approached cautiously, letting one foot completely test the strength and durability of the ground before allowing the second to take off.
“Abram. You get off those swings, boy. Your parents, and the whole community, our brothers, we’re all worried sick about you. I swear, even God’s gonna have a heart attack if you keep these shenanigans. Ya hear me?”
Abram kept swinging, causing both to fall in silence to see who would make the next move. Cristobal felt the mysterious potential of the universe build up inside of him.
“I ain’t going back home,” Abram finally spoke, breathless from angry swinging, “I’ll never go back to my family, friends, o’ the community. You hear me? You know it better than I ever could, and don’t look so surprised. Everyone in the community knows who you are.”
Great potential. Great beautiful potential, Cristobal thought. He breathed deeply and remembered that allergies have the potential to distract Buddhist Monks.
Abram continued, “You know it just like I do, mister, that it’s all a bunch of hogwash over there, and if you think I have some kinda obligation, then you’re wrong, you’re dead wrong.”
He kicked higher and higher, his legs straightening outwards and then tucking underneath, transforming into a momentum that forced the chains to chink as he reached a pinnacle. Cristobal watched as potential anger turned into kinetic swing energy.
“I don’t know what you heard, but I’m not going home, mister. You can turn me in but the community won’t listen to you. Call my parents. I dare you. Get the community over here, they ain’t gonna shackle me. Oh no they won’t. Not after what my pa’ did to me, numerous times. I got many stories to tell the police.”
Abram stopped kicking and allowed physics to carry him forewords and then backwards.
“There’s worse evil than the likes of you out there. I’ve heard your stories told in a way to sicken Satan himself. But I’ve seen and felt Satan in my own pa.”
His kicking returned and Abram quickly overthrew the swing’s pinnacle, causing it to levitate in mid-air for a brief second before initiating the backwards arch. Cristobal, now standing comfortably with his hands in his pockets, found it increasingly difficult to hear the boy’s high-pitched voice above the swing set’s creaking.
“They ain’t gonna shackle their son,” Abram continued, “What kind of mother and father would that be? God gave us free will, oh yes he did, I read that in the James Joyce book I have hidden in the corn fields. He gave us free will and what would God be to then deny us his most fascinating gift. Pa tells me that it’s God’s plan to stay in the community. He says there are big things in my future or else I get the belt. Is that free will?”
The boy rambled while Cristobal walked up to the swing and grabbed the chain during its backwards arch, sending both the swing and Abram on a violent twist. Abram flew onto the wood chips with one leg still connected to the swing. Cristobal found energy to be such a funny thing. He also found an Amish boy screaming like a prepubescent girl being chased a funny thing.
“Hey! What have you, mister?”
Abram rubbed his head and tried to get up, and he would have gotten up too if Cristobal hadn’t stepped on his chest with his untied steel-toe leather boot. The boy squirmed and protested, but Cristobal smiled and pushed with more pressure to compensate.
“Go on,” Cristobal said, “Scream. Scream as loud as your free will lets ya. And I’ll push harder just as my free will lets me, up until every last chicken bone in your chest goes pop.”
The boy looked at Cristobal with eyes wide and red like bright, Mennonite-grown cherries. He had such innocence and purity to him. His voice, age, dress, and scared, beady eyes calmed Cristobal; they reminded him that he needs to breathe like those monks who hang out in castles in the skies, where the air is empty and cold, fresh and full of oxygen. Cristobal removed his foot and the boy coughed to regain his own air, and when Cristobal leaned over and offered a hand, Abram scooted backwards.
“Don’t be such a frightened little gem,” Cristobal blew his nose into his hand, “Your swinging was godawful irritating, and to me, you had interesting things to say. I’m not going to tell your folks, nor anyone that I saw you here, but only if you go on. Get. Start a road narrative. But before that I wanna hear you scream and I want you to cast away your precious free will and give it to me. You’ll hate our God soon enough.”
Abram continued scooting, uprooting grass and dirtying his pants along the way, and for every couple of feet or so, Cristobal took another slow step.
“Stay away from me, mister. I’m warning you. I will scream. Stay away!”
“That’s it. Yes! Oh yes, how I like that! Scream piggy, scream!”
The boy yelled. He screamed in his little-girly pitched whine and repeated himself over and over. Surrounding the park, lights flickered on in the homes one would assume were vacant, and Cristobal stopped his approach. For just a brief second, shadows cast from the nearby junipers darkened his eyes into blackness, and only Cristobal’s bloody grin rang forth. And in that moment Abram rested on his arms, still as the surrounding night.
“Baaaaah! I am the devil, here to take your sinning soul and molest your sin! Bah!”
Cristobal lunged forward and Abram scrambled to his feet, scampering like a cockroach in light as he sprinted towards the street, screaming the entire way. More houselights flickered on and old folks in printed nightgowns pushed back their curtains and peeked through their blinds. Meanwhile, Cristobal rolled on the grass unable to contain his laughter. He got up and waved at the onlookers. Some waved back, but quickly let their blinds and curtains fall naturally. Just as soon as the lights came on, they extinguished once again.
What a funny kid.
Moving lazily and feeling joyous, he strolled back to the sidewalk and towards his home. Every step sunk into the grass and pushed off the mud underneath, but when sirens erupted in the distance, Cristobal cursed at least one of the surrounding homes and sprinted, just as Abram had done not two minutes ago.
Plain and obscure houses passed while his chest grew heavy, and he zig-zagged along various, oak-lined streets. Every so often, the lights of an oncoming car manifested in the distance, and Cristobal dove into the nearest yard and hid behind a bush or a tree until the red sedan, the blue Ford truck with rust stains along the tire wells, or the golden Chrysler minivan passed on by. He was the devilish pedophile that stole the soul of an Amish boy the cops were looking for. For each step closer to home, however, the sirens grew louder.
He ran, and ran, taking every shortcut he could to the only place called home, sweat dripping down his spine, and once he turned the corner to his rustic street with the potholes, electric street lights, and his cancerous oak towering over any other tree, he fell to his knees in the illumination of a great fire feasting on the pseudo, one-story Tudor Revival home with the rotting insides, desolate stucco siding, and shameful porch. His eyes were mirrors that reflected his life.
The Hillsboro No. 6 firetruck came screeching to a halt and volunteers, men and women he had known all his life, jumped out and scrambled in circles like bees around a damaged hive. A hose shot an arch of water through the air while Mr. Leiman wrapped his arms around Cristobal and picked him off his knees.
“Cristobal! I’m so sorry, but your wife is safe. She got outta the house before the fire, but, but there was nothing the firefighters could do. The house is gone!”
Then, a firefighter, who was also the local funeral director, approached the two and said, “We gotta move back. The fire’s spreading!”
And the fire did spread. It spread to Mr. Leiman’s and eventually consumed the rustic street. One house caught after the other, an intrepid line of strength, beauty, and dignity. Cristobal watched the cancerous oak become a Christmas tree, he saw the Schmidt’s shack turn into a steak dinner for the fire demon, Mr. Harrison’s home with their ugly-ass dog danced and could have been the perfect roasting spot for Amish runaways with marshmallows. Through the night the entire street burned bright, and this desolate and historic part of town turned perfect ember.
The next morning, within smoke and disbelief, all of Cristobal’s neighbors laughed and cracked open frosty beers. Clyde Hanson, still a virgin but a second baseman, was never so busy at the root beer stand in the afternoon. There was even a block party and fish boil the following evening, and everyone was there except for Abram. Music grew into the night, and the Hillsboro residents laughed in reverence and kissed their wives, including Cristobal. Unfortunately, Cristobal spent the latter part of the evening in a jail cell after giving a left hook to the Old Amish Man.
Nobody can really explain the joy after The Great Fire and the loss of an entire, run-down neighborhood, but oh, the potential of everything. It’s like a mosquito buzzing around, sucking blood from one arm and then spitting it into the next leg. It’s like dogs chasing cars, unsure what to do when they caught them. And it’s like all those monks in castles in the sky, meditating, while one wheezes and itches and sneezes because he has allergies, but still tries focusing on the breath anyway. Cristobal loved his strange and poignant pasture, and each and every soul who made it that way.