Page 58 - Vol. VII #8
P. 58

 C Martin Van Buren Bates was 7’8 and He Stood in the Road and He Cried
arl Jr. saw him first, rearing up his shaggy head and there hadn’t been a storm in weeks. No, this was no snorting loudly to alert his rider, Halsey Hulburt, storm damaged tree; this had to be something else.
that there was something strange in the road ahead. Hurrrt, Carl Jr. snorts.
Easy, boy. We’re almost home, Halsey says comfortingly.
Halsey Hulburt pulls on Carl Jr.’s reins to slow his pace. Easy, boy.
As is often the case upon crossing Chippewa Creek, Halsey Hulburt was lost in thought; having ridden this stretch of Seville Road so many times, he seldom paid attention to his surroundings.
Maybe something had fallen off a lumber wagon: that was possible. Or maybe it was a fallen tree, but why was it standing straight up like that in the air? That didn’t make no sense.
Rutherford B. Hayes, he repeats to himself in quiet disbelief... President!
Carl Jr. lurches backwards again. Easy, boy. Go slow.
Riding west at this late hour also means travelling directly towards the setting sun and with his light- sensitive eyes, Halsey Hulburt welcomed the oppor- tunity to look anywhere except straight ahead.
As the old quarterhorse’s steps slow to a walk, Halsey Hulburt sees the top of the monstrosity shiver in a spasm. And with that slight shiver, Halsey Hulburt realizes what is in front of him.
Creek’s high. Lots of rain last night. Pleasant Street, such a pleasant street. Halsey Hulburt smiles at this witticism, tilting the brim of his hat lower to further cover the sun’s aggressive slant. Nothing to worry about. Be home soon.
O Lord, he thinks, the child.
The evening air was just beginning to cool and soon it would be Halsey Hulburt’s favorite time of day: the blue hour. Sit back and watch the light wane and the day drain away.
His wife had been right. Two normal people can have an anomaly, but two anomalies can’t have a normal person. Don’t talk like that, Flora Mae. It’s true. You can’t have an anomaly of an anomaly. That just ain’t natural. Flora Mae, it will be done. Leave it at that. Saying “it will be done” don’t make anything be done, Halsey. You know that. Don’t be a fool. That Martin Van Buren Bates is seven-foot-eight feet tall and five- hundred-and-fifty pounds heavy and his wife Anna is seven-foot-eleven, four-hundred pounds. You can’t have a twelve-foot, eight-hundred pound baby. Flora Mae, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Rubbish, Halsey. That’s rubbish and you know it. It ain’t for us to try
Was life in Seville simple? Who’s to say? Hardscrabble here, hardscrabble there, hardscrabble everywhere. Little hardscrabble never killed nobody. Agreeable eve- nings were a balm against the hardscrabbleness of life.
Halsey Hulburt sighs.
to understand it, Flora Mae. More rubbish! (Halsey’s wife hated religious platitudes, except for when she needed them to win an argument.) You go ahead and be blind. You’ll see. Halsey Hulburt shook his head and walked out of the room; once he was out of his wife’s earshot, he swore silently under his breath: Blennerhassett Island!
What the dick’ns?
Rutherford B... Hurrrt?
Carl Jr. rears up with purpose and it’s only then that Halsey Hulburt sees the monstrosity in the middle of the road ahead. It looks like a giant branchless tree, the kind you see around after particularly violent thunderstorms—all splintered and bent and stripped of its branches—but there were no tree trunks in the middle of this particular stretch of Seville Road and
Easy, boy. We’re almost... HURRRT! HURRRT!
Halsey Hulburt’s wife was disagreeable to the point exasperation; she could disagree with any point of view no matter how banal and stubbornly continue disagreeing for hours, days, even a lifetime. I’m a Burr, she would tell anyone who would listen. That’s what we do. Because of her slight East coast accent, it was difficult to understand what she meant by de-
scoTT navicky

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