08 May 2011

At the Talent Show (Alabama Luncheonette)

When your knife comes across some membrane that's really tough and rubbery, well, the only thing there is to do is to press a whole lot harder. My daddy told me that a long time ago, and he ought to know, seein' as he came across a whole lotta' really tough, rubbery membrane in his day. Shit – he didn't even go a day, I bet, without cuttin' into some really good, rubbery membrane.

There was fellas back home who didn't care much for the cut of my jib, as my friend Spleeny used to say. Spleeny was called Spleeny on account o' his spleen, I heard told, but I was never too sure. I think it really mighta' had somethin' to do with his likin' that Beaudry girl from over the next town – down there in that dirty little shack – she was the girl from Pine Bluff, and that was the girl that I think Spleeny got in trouble with. She had real dark eyes and no one ever did trust her, 'ceptin' Spleeny of course, 'cause I think he prob'ly did things he shouldn't have and no one ever knew until everyone found out. Damn fool Spleeny.


So the membrane cuts real tough when you don't want it to, and when you least expect it you prob'ly just poke the tip of your knife right through and stick yourself in the hand. Damn. I did that when I was cuttin' out a tongue once, and I stuck that knife halfway through my hand and I screamed bloody murder until my uncle Shiloh came and said it was gonna' be OK. Uncle Shiloh wrapped my hand in a dirty old sock, 'cause that was all there was around, and he told me a story of a kid cuttin' offa' piece of a chocolate Easter bunny and he set that kitchen knife right on that bunny's neck and whanged down on it real hard with his other hand. Only he had the damn knife turned the wrong way and his hand came down on the blade. The kid cut hisself' good, I mean to tell you. It's true. So he wrapped it in a dirty sock just like my uncle Shiloh just did with my hand with all the blood from that tongue and my hand all bleedin' together and I was gettin' sick and Uncle Shiloh just was sayin' it's gonna' be OK.

But Spleeny, he got that Beaudry girl pregnant and no one knew until everyone knew. That Beaudry girl up and left and I think she went back to Pine Bluff, maybe. Spleeny didn't care where she went to, but he let himself go crazy. Out of his mind crazy, I mean it. He went and took his pants off in the post office and when they tried to come and get him, he started makin' a mess. You know what I mean. Yeah, that's what I mean. Eventually the sherriff came and wrapped an old oilcloth around him and one of the deputies hit him with a little leather bag on the back of the head until he didn't fight no more. He just went all limp and fell down in the mess he made. It was bad, I mean to tell you. They took Spleeny away and I never did hear of him no more. Neither did I ever hear of that Beaudry girl, but then, I never really get over to Pine Bluff.

Spleeny had it bad, but I s'pose that Beaudry girl had it worse. Everybody kinda' thought everything got worse anyway after the whole mess. But as my daddy used to say, when your knife comes across some membrane that's really tough and rubbery, well, the only thing there is to do is to press a whole lot harder.

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