1 What I've Done
Through the ropey blood, I'm sure it was more like snoring and that's exactly what he had set out to do. Put whatever raped that poor Garrison girl to rest. I felt it then and remembered it all in that damned moment, and I can't believe I'm so forgetful as I write this, that shock of the actual electric chair and the murky scar it embroidered on my skull that has me sitting in my own blood in this kitchen chair.
That was it and I knew it truer than I know the sun will rise as easily as it sets. That I was accused of raping Mr. Garrison's eldest daughter, and I was sent to the electric chair for it. However, the warmth of her is forgotten and the electric chair failed, so I only share the grief of a thief who stole from himself.
I flailed like a seal in my heap of worthlessness on that chair in the kitchen out of the affliction of my remembrance. I healed as a rib bone often heals inward to the lung; crooked and fighting against itself. In the kitchen, I waited for my father for what felt like days to scramble together the memories he awakened. The feeling came like punches to the stomach; completely arresting. I remember rolling to the kitchen floor and griping something that griped back. It was an apple, and in its glimmer, I saw my reflection: the scar was nothing at all but blood. I cried and felt the skin of the apple wipe the blood as I pressed it to my face. Then I felt dizzy and fell asleep to have the dreams direct me to the truth. Not caring if the floor opened up and swallowed me.
2 Dreaming on the Kitchen Floor
I didn't die from the electric chair, somehow not even close. When I came to in the Gruesome Gertie, the corners of my eyes were bright, enclosing on the black of my sight like a projector. The stars on people's heads, the strange glow some individuals have even when the suns gone, well, everyone in the viewing area was on fire rather than just glimmering. Snot dipped into the spit of my mouth like a mother washing clothes; rugged but with that familiar touch. I tasted it and it was charcoaled, and I saw all their glorious faces and the cluster of their red countenances looked like apples. I dropped with a might that said something ripened inside me, but I wasn't dead. Dead hitting the floor sounds like it was shoved there with a connection to the soil we can't understand. I, however, rolled on the splintered wood as if the protruding splinters were stalks of grass. They knew they didn't kill me, and I'm sure of it. The laughter came harsher than the voltage of electricity, and I felt them unable to squirm in their seats at the sight of my face that must've looked like chewed tobacco. Their laughter came like ghosts unsure if the house they haunted was even their house or if they just enjoyed the fright they induced too much to leave.
Maybe that's a little harsh, then again, they tried to kill me. Maybe one more than others. Maybe all men and no women or exactly the opposite. Either way, they stayed and watched the scar take shape above my eyes, and it must've been hours before I was left for dead on the side of the road, a dirt road unpaved.
Those nights with the salt gnawing at my skull in my childhood bedroom, something more than the moonlight stood at the foot of my bed. I thought of the words the man in the house said and I questioned our relation. Who was he? I envisioned him finding me on that dirt road, wiping the mud off my face and grimacing when recognizing who it is. Placing me in his car as others drive by suspicious. He must've been my father, I was sure I knew something about his ways. Or maybe I only imposed the ways of another man on him and his character became what I wanted. With that, he became a wandering spirit, and I never looked in his direction again. Only slightly turned my head to receive the soup he fed to me on a spoon. Whoever he was, he loved me a great deal.
I forget how I crawled from the kitchen floor but today, if you took a good look at my stomach, you could see where the exposed wood cut deep as I drug myself across it. The salt worked, and I wasn't sure if I wanted it to. My indifference to it might've been the best medicine because I left it alone. It healed to a color that strangely resembled the sun-kissed skin of the man of the house as if he cut off a piece of himself and stitched it there. It's steady now like a lake in autumn; not completely frozen but taking an easiness in preparation for winter. I took one good, hard last look at him after it had healed and I felt whole again. I began my exile and my current life of wandering. He had a funny look on his face, and I can't describe it any better or remember it with any more importance. I waved back to the house and the porch was dark to the point where if I squinted, I could make out a silhouette of myself in the darkness. Which is what I must've been in the days after my botched execution; a silhouette.
You've wondered one thing while reading:
where am I today. And I ask myself that sometimes seriously and sometimes sarcastically. Today, I go back into town. And with my scar, I carry a couple memories of the town with it.
In the bed with my salt inflamed scar, I dreamt of when I was budding from head to toe in youth. I'd assembled an incredible line of baskets beneath the apple trees and wouldn't have to pick anything but my teeth. I'd go into town and the road was still mud then somehow. I can feel my ankles jolt at the thought of clobbering against the welcome mat of Garrisons Workshop. There was no sign but everyone knew it was Garrison's by the pretty blonde heads, his daughters, dancing about.
Mr. Garrison had a son, or another boy around, he'd brown hair. Mr. Garrison's hair was a fading white, so I'm unsure if the boy took after him or not. I remember the boy better than the girls; he was a skinny that looked deformed but a figure that seemed a healthy tree from afar. Hell, he might've been my brother the way I looked up to him. He was the best hunter I can remember recalling, and his gun would echo through the apple trees and even wake me up. Mr. Garrison and I labored the most willingly imaginable on the early weekdays and we built the town and maybe even some of the people too in a weird way. But, the boy brought in the food, and I'd never seen a man so happy to eat deer as Mr. Garrison was.
Mr. Garrison and I made the entire grocery store, made it out of wood, made it with the loneliness of two men, made it for others. Sometimes I'd sit from across the street if it, picking my teeth, and smile at the people as they walked out with groceries as I can imagine a father should smirk at sudden strides in their child's humanity. That everything is gonna be alright and although their baby was once a pile of bones and crying meat it's somehow forming into something familiar. But that will to familiarize doesn't exist in other people as it does me. And the towns people must've thought it strange, even perverted, that a man would smile at them by means of something more than immediate. There's one daughter I'd wish I was the father of because if I was her father, I wouldn't of loved her the love I was accused of imposing. That was Mr. Garrisons eldest daughter.
I've been tired for awhile now of telling myself how beautiful she was. I write this recovered from the stabbing of that man in the house but in that speedy recovery some memories that bled out were lost in the floorboards, I suppose. I wish to justify that love I knew, as the towns folk justified my crime in my watchful stares. Though they knew the strength I carried myself in was the least retarded and misguided, I was somehow the only one with a gaze that satisfied the description. With their eyelids clucking like chickens but mine as slow to rest as a fox, I suppose it was only right that lightning was sure to mend me sternly into the earth so far I could feel the embers of hell. I don't know who raped Mr. Garrison's eldest daughter, but I know I wasn't excited enough about anything to stir up a storm in me without checking where it hits. Not even enticed by the fragrance of spring pushing the apples through the vines enough to be there to pick them like a proud father. I can see her eyes but no mouth, feel her lips but can't taste her spit, notice a warmth but don't know how far the fire stirs.
3 Thinking of the Town:
I'm going into town today, I know I said it before but forgive my stalling. Maybe I want to give it just that last bit of time to remember her face. If I go into town and they murder me then so be it. I'll know why, I've watched them long enough. Like an apple on a tree, high on the tree looking down, it's only right that I be picked rather than fall and roll in the dirt. Then a part of me whispers I should run off and start a family; make a beautiful women a mother. But no, I'll never get far on these dirt roads, I'll sink in the mud. They'll drive by my dirt clogged body and think they killed me when they left me for dead on the side of the road and the mud will cover the scar. A triumph they don't deserve.
Freckles, I remember it now, she had freckles. And a smile, some girls don't have smiles only smirks, no, she had a smile. All the more reason to go into town tomorrow. It's strange, I thought I'd dream of her more when I was recovering in that house. There was only one.
As a boy I loved the apples, the red of them, the glimmer and the dullness. In the dream, I took her to where the apple trees reigned and we ate the ones not yet fallen into my baskets. Something tasted better about pulling it from it's branch and eating it. The sun was like a yo-yo; bouncing up and down until ultimately still. When my shadow was on top of me in the silent sun, I took her hands and placed a whole basket of the freshly plucked ones we hadn't the hunger to eat but had the pleasure to pick. And afterwards she was gone. The ones I had left all had fallen with a thud into the breast of my basket. When the leisure had grown tired, and the sun began its journey into the earth, I took them up to father. He counted them all, and he found it funny how a dent scarred each one.
YOU ARE READING
Surviving the ChairShort Story
In this short story you will find a skewered retelling of some old stories and a gritty original take of a time of loneliness and seclusion. It's the story of a man retelling his survival story and his journey to remembrance. .