Monday, April 27, 2009

Dirty Words, An Excerpt

Here's a teasing taste of my newly-reprinted collection, Dirty Words, currently available from the always-great Lethe Books.

Btw, "How Coyote Stole The Sun" was originally in Michael Thomas Ford's anthology, Happily Ever After, and then in Susie Bright's Best American Erotica 1997.

How Coyote Stole The Sun

The bus dropped to its knees, yawning open its door. The day was burning: the sun angry at something it wasn’t sharing and the wind was scared to come out.

Dust swirled, friendly and clinging, around Dog as he left the cooling bosom of the Interstate Lines bus. Satisfied that it’s friend was out and walking safely away, No 47--Albuquerque to Taos--closed its door and left with a belching cloud of exhaust.

The trees must have had issues with dog, because as he approached them they shuffled and fluttered their leaves to flash pieces of the too-hot sun down on him.

But Dog was used to that kind of treatment from trees--he paid them no mind and just kept on walking along the dusty road.

After a time of walking, (precisely how long being difficult to say because time wasn’t something Dog really understood and because watches, as a group, refused to speak true to him even if he bothered to ask) Dog saw some signs of man: the broken teeth of a old picket fence, the rusting mesh of its chain-link brother, the stumps of telephone poles, and, distantly, the regularity of a small house.

A few steps later, details filled his eyes: it was a small house. Clapboard painted red. A porch that was a mixture of rotting and rotted old boards. Glassless windows with torn curtains like pale moss. A screen door with more holes than screen.

It took Dog a few seconds to really see them, they were so faded into the grasses and the shadows: The two little boys were brown and furtive from running with the rabbits and the squirrels. Their eyes were as blue as the sky when it was in a good mood, and about as tame as wild foxes. They were naked and tanned from the stern sun--dirty and scuffed and uncaring, unworried. Maybe nine Summers, maybe ten. Not twelve. They could have been brothers or just kin who had been playing outside together too long.

Dog watching them, doing nothing for a while, then he dropped down onto his haunches, feeling his old blue jeans creak and stretch against his thighs. Putting two fingers on the ground, he gave the boys the gift of thinking that he needed them for balance--when Dog could have stayed there for many nights without moving.

After a time, the two wild boys decided that he wasn’t a hunter, or at least wasn’t a hungry one. Cautiously, the came out from the high grasses in front of dead house and looked at him.

Finally, the one with some echoes of being civilized, or just less of the music of the wild world, spoke: “What you doing here, Mister?”

Dog spoke, slowly and without threatening timbre: “Just passing.”

The boy who spoke, nodded, as if that was more than enough, or all he could understand.

Dog played a bit with the dust at his feet, careful to draw something without meaning. “Anything around here?” the drifter said.

The other boy, the one who didn’t speak, heard a sound and leaped into the weeds in pursuit. The other looked like he wanted to join his friend or brother but was still fascinated by the stranger. “Birds. Rabbits. Mice. Squirrels. Roc.”


He jerked his head down the road. “He has more than anyone. Even stuff.”

“Stuff?” Dog said, standing and brushing some of the clinging dust from his denim jacket.

The boy looked confused for a moment, as if he didn’t have any other words. Another sound chirped from the high, brown grasses and he looked harder this time in its direction: the wild wasn’t calling--rather, it was screaming for his small attention.

He looked back at Dog once more, decided that either he didn’t have anything else to say, or the means to say what he wanted to, and bounded off into the grasses to make hunting and catching noises all his own.

Dog watched the grasses shake and shush a bit, then turned and walked down the road.




Nudiemuse said...

Seriously, this is one of my favorite of your stories and I was just thinking about it yesterday. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Dirty Words. Another copy anyway.


M.Christian said...

Thanks, sweetie -- that means a LOT to me! If you want to do a review or such I can also send you a copy ...



Nudiemuse said...

Oh my gosh really? I would LOVE that and get it up at my space. I finally finished Script Frenzy so I have time for reading wonderful things. Which means your stuff. :*
You're a treat.

M.Christian said...

Sure! Just email me your address and I'll have the publisher send you a copy -- or I can send you a pdf if you send me your email address.