Hendrik is a Heathen


Hendrik is born in Utah. His house is on a red hill. The sun in Utah is yellow.


Hendrik is a heathen. When Hendrik is fifteen, Dale tries to cure him. Dale is a professional farmer. Dale farms in the summer and winter and his tomatoes are the size of small human heads. I know how to cure Hendrik, Dale says. Dale sells his tomatoes for $4.95 each.


Dale ties Hendrik to a bench in a stable. The stable has horses in it. The horses are bred to race on the track that is in town. Last year, Betsy won $15,000 at the Galven Main Horse Race. Betsy bought a red truck and drove it to Texas to visit her brother, Jimmy. Jimmy is a race car driver. Once, Jimmy’s picture was in Car and Driver. The caption on the picture said Jeff Gordon and unidentified friend. One day, Jimmy says, I will be in a magazine without ‘unidentified’.


Do you believe in Jesus, Dale asks Hendrik. I don’t know, Hendrik says. Dale pauses and looks at the ground. I wish I had a bible, Dale thinks.

I guess we will have to use gasoline, Dale says. Dale walks out of the stable and gets into his blue truck. The rocks in Utah are red.


Dale drives to town in his blue truck. Dale listens to his radio and taps his steering wheel. The salt flats are white. The sun is pink. Dale bounces his head back and forth. He passes a sign that says: Biggest Tomatoes in Utah $3.95.


You sell bigger tomatoes than they do, Gracie says. Gracie looks like a thin piece of wallpaper. You should stop smoking Gracie, Dale says. It makes you look like a ghost. But I’m not a ghost, Gracie says and throws her cigarette into the garden. Those are my tomatoes, Dale says. Go to hell Dale, Gracie says and walks inside.

You live in a trailer, Dale thinks.


Dale lives in a trailer.


The Mattison family lives in a trailer.
Jimmy lives in a trailer.


Dale gets his shotgun and walks to the farm stand. I have bigger tomatoes, Dale says. Oh, Hickory says. Hickory is four years old and she can count to 159. Once she ran around her trailer 27 times. Once I ran around my house 27 times, Hickory says. Did you write the sign on the highway, Dale asks. Do you want a tomato, Hickory asks.


Horses sleep standing up, Hendrik thinks and falls asleep. Hendrik dreams that he owns ice skates and that he is skating on his ice skates. Wake up Hendrik, Dale says. Hendrik wakes up. Do you believe in Jesus Hendrik, Dale asks. I don’t know Dale, Hendrik says.


My horse was in that barn, Betsy says. I’ll buy you a new barn, Dale says. Last call, Mel says. But it is only midnight, Dale says. Its Tuesday Dale, Mel says. Oh, Dale says.


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