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Christian Brothers Brandy VS Cards
Christian Brothers Brandy VS Cards
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Christian Brothers Brandy VS Cards

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I Hope She Lis’ens 

“I sure hope she ain’t gonna get mad with me again.”

A peaceful June night in the wooded hills of Wuester – the bugs and bats singing their omnipresent songs, the full moon shining its lustrous silver beams through gaps in the canopy, the clumsiness of a fawn following its new mother across a road for the first time to have a sip of cool water from the big pond over yonder – is devastated, nay, utterly obliterated by the harsh screech of hot rubber tires painting the black asphalt blacker as Jack’s pickup swerves off the road and into a tree. Entirely out of compulsion he pulled the emergency break and swung the wagon around, which was very lucky, else the old oak tree would have caught the engine rather than just the passenger door. The truck herself is fine, the music’s still playin’ just fine, too. Silverado, a gift from The Marshall Tucker Band. The live version, no jokin’. Just listening to it once you can feel the passion in Doug Gray’s voice. Jack’s gift for Brandy isn’t damaged, either.

“I got ‘er a gift, she cain’t get mad with me. I just…” He shakes his head. “I hope she lis’ens when I tell‘er what happened.”

Jack disengages the e-break and goes about maneuvering his truck Shirley off of the old oak, which is still standing by the way. And he didn’t hit either of the deer. It all could have been much worse, and if Jack had been drinking?

Jack sighs. “Prob’ly don’t even matter, we think what we want. Don’t matter what we’re shown these days. Lord have mercy, I don’t want t’clout her none but Lord I will if I must.” He looks out at the street. Nobody’s coming this way or going that way. The deer are long gone. Jack sighs again, less fondly this time. “I jus’ hope she lis’ens.”


The Egg

The starved chirping of baby chicks wakes Brandy from the sleep that stole over her. She sits up straight and rubs the left side of her face. It’s covered with grooves from the ice pack and the side of the couch… oh well. Can’t look worse than it did last weekend. Still hurts like a sour pisser, too.

“Come on now Brand’, bitchin’ ain’t gonna make it any better.” Then, as she tosses the blanket off and sits up, “Up we go.”

Brandy slaps her thighs and rises to her feet, then ambles slowly to the kitchen, grabbing the ice pack on the way in. It’s not quite warm to the touch, but the gel inside definitely isn’t icy anymore. She rubs her face again… the lump is totally gone, and the bruise has faded considerably, but then again it was never really the bruise that hurt. Right now it’s her ears that hurt, for the love a’God why did she buy this cheesy timer from that new secondhand shop on the other side of town?

“You know damn well why, Brandy,” Brandy says to herself as she clicks the egg timer off. A long sigh. “Because it’s right next to the liquor store, and he said he wudn’t goin’ to the liquor store no more.”

Dirty yellow headlights sweep past the window, giving Brandy’s shadow cause to glide gleefully across the wall.

“And speakin’ of the sour pisser.” She clears her sinuses into her mouth and spits the haul into the sink, but doesn’t wash it down. “See how that likes ya.”

As Brandy is sitting back down on the couch, Jack opens the squeaky door and climbs up into the trailer with what else but a black plastic bag hanging from his fat fingers. He doesn’t smell like booze like he usually does, but there’s only one store in town that Brandy’s been to that uses those black plastic bags, and the clerk told Brandy they get them from the liquor store.



“Well hello there, Jackson,” Brandy hisses, scornful as ever, soon as Jack sets foot in his home. Now, Jack may be the son of a Jack – by a technicality – but Brandy knows damn well that Jack ain’t no son to no father. That spineless whore of a man di’n’t even show up for his son’s birth, but that’s just fine. Jack’s been just fine without him, ain’t nobody need that sorry bastard. Ain’t nobody.

“Brandy, now you know I don’t like you callin’ me that.” He hasn’t even got to shut the door yet. “Now I know you see this bag in my hand an’ I know whatch’er thinkin’, but it’s a gift. Fer you.” Now he shuts the door – first you toss the bear your food, then you get yerself outta there – and she starts goin’ before he even turns back around.

“A gift? You spent money on a gift ? Jack, baby, we’re gonna be evicted in a week! You cain’t be–”

Jack reached into the bag. The deck of cards is now sitting on Brandy’s lap. It’s all out in the open.

“You… you’re shitting me.”

Confusion floods into Jack’s face like mud into the creek out back during summer thunderstorms.

“You’re drunk right now, ain’t you? Un-fuckin’…” Brandy stands up and tosses the cards across the room into the kitchen. Then, starting under her breath and evolving into a right shriek, “Un-fuckin’-believable!

The black plastic bag falls from Jack’s hand, the ferry of many black plastic bags, and lands on the floor of his mobile home, the resting place of many black plastic bags and even more glass bottles, empties, partials, and fullboys alike. Jack approaches his woman and begins to raise his hand out of concern, but she grabs him by the wrist and tosses him away.

“Not again!” she yells, and he knows in his heart that he deserves it. The wolf won’t get the boy till the townfolk ain’t lis’enin’; the townfolk don’t lis’en ‘til the wolf gets the boy. “You ain’t hittin’ me again, you hear that?! Get away, get! ” Brandy’s holding the bag now. She’s whipping him with it, the flaccid mace, and how the lashes do burn like sinners a’simmer in the pits of Hell. “I told you get!!

Jack trips over his feet and falls into his kitchen, inadvertently banging his cheek on the handle of the oven. It makes a soft thud, no audible crack. Prob’ly won’t even leave a lump. Sure will leave a nasty bruise though, and that’s just right, ain’t it? Brandy thinks so, and the warm night air only confirms her feelings on the subject. The sight of Jack’s wrecked truck helps a bit, too. Only one place he could’a got those cards, and that’s off the neck of the bottle of liquor used to be in that black plastic bag he brought in. Shame, Jack was a decent man when he wasn’t swamped. A real decent man.

It’ll be a long night of walking, but bitchin’ ain’t gonna make it any better. Brandy’s folks live near the middle of town, it ain’t that far. She’ll get there sure enough.