Over that little rise. Seen them horses just standin' there. Just over that rise, where th' trees stop and that field starts goin' on. Dan Marbles was walkin' over there and he was eyein' up those horses as he 'as walkin' over there. That Dan Marbles ain't no good, and I seen him just walkin' there and he's always talkin' t' himself like there might just be some kinda' demon or something in his head – that sunburned head a' his. He's always lookin' so sunburned and when he takes off his baseball cap he looks like those old-time pictures. He looks like those folks in those old-time pictures where th' men been out in th' fields all day long, and they been wearin' a hat, so their faces get sunburned, but th' top of they's heads, well, they stay all white. So when they go into th' picture-takin' place and take off their hat, well, they got this big old white top of they's head right over th' top of they sunburned face And it looks all kinda' strange. But that's how Dan Marbles always looks.
“Pith,” it seemed like he said. “Pith and marrow,” and I never had any idea what he was talkin' 'bout. Dan Marbles had a lot of stuff goin' on with him, rollin' back in forth of that head a' his. Maybe that's a good reason his danged name is marbles. Like I said. Marbles. They go rollin' around in that head a' his.
Those horse th' next day, well, one a' them was dead. Right up on over that rise. That little rise right over there, like I said. Where th' trees stop and that field starts goin' on, like it goes forever. It been cut but good, and it looked like someone was pretty damn angry with it. Like a man been sayin' “pith” to it and “pith and marrow,” and th' only one who knew what th' heck it meant was th' one doin' th' sayin' and th' mutterin' with th' knife.
'Man mutters with a knife when he's just walkin' and eyein' up horses, then you know that a man ain't right and a man like Dan Marbles, well, he's gonna' hafta' pay.
One way or 'nother.
Dan Marbles done been stupid when he lifted up that girl's dress in school and he been stupid since. Th' girl's brother beat th' livin' shit outta' that fool on th' one day, and that Dan Marbles come t' school in a Hallowe’en mask th' next. It was a mask like an old man, bald, with wrinkles and like a demon was comin' outta' him what worked with Dan Marbles just fine. No one was surprised with a demon comin' outta' Dan Marbles, 'cept we all thought th' demon was still in there. Like Pisser's uncle the preacher said about demons, sayin' they get into folk just easy, but have a harder'n hell time gettin' outta' folk. When they come out, it ain't pretty.
Dan Marbles, shit, when he stood there lookin' at them horses over that little rise, just standin' there, just over that rise, where th' trees stop and that field starts goin' on, well, hell, I knew. I knew like I never knew nothin'. But then, it ain't all that mucha' surprise.
Man's mutterin' with a knife and the knife goes int' that horse and he starts wav'nit in the horse's guts, then hell, that horse ain't gotta' chance. Damn stupid fool. Damn stupid fool.
Damn stupid fool and I remember his old man takin' a pipe t' him once, back'n we was kids. Yeah, just like a pipe from a sink or a toilet or a kitchen sink, I s'pose. Just a pipe, and his old man hit'im 'cross the back and th' side a' his head. Dan Marbles done got in trouble for doin' somethin' stupid like a damn stupid kid we all was and done th' same stupid shit. Only we din't all get hit with a pipe from a kitchen by our old man. Only Dan Marbles. But that din't get th' demon out, neither. I guessed it mighta' got it in there, tho'. Who knows?
Don't know if'n his old man muttered with th' pipe or if he shouted. I saw it. We all saw it. Out in th' yard and his old man been drinkin'. We couldn't hear it, only seen it. Th' sound in my ears was a rushin' and screamin' inside for Dan Marbles. A rushin' like you hear when your blood's flowin' too fast t' keep up with. A rushin' like you hear when a storm's comin'.
A man mutters with a pipe and a demon goes in. 'Man mutters with a knife when he's just walkin' and eyein' up horses, then you know that a man ain't right and a man like Dan Marbles, well, he's gonna' hafta' pay.
One way or 'nother.