Spring in the Small Town

The rain stops. Marla is in the backyard. Marla yells at Jackie. Jackie lives next door. The fence is broken, Hal thinks. You drink too much, Marla says. Hal yawns. It is green on the lawn, Hal thinks. Marla wears jean skirts in the spring. She looks smooth and tanned and undone in the spring. Jackie punches Marla.

The blouse is red, Marla says to Liza. Liza shakes her head. You should bleach it, Liza says. Hal is in the kitchen. He drinks milk and shudders. Marla should talk to Jimmy, Hal thinks. Last night, Liza tied herself to her flagpole. Louis found her there. Why are you tied to the flagpole, Louis asked.

Jimmy owns a bar in the center of town. He makes bourbon in his backyard. He sells the bourbon in his bar. Jimmy calls the bourbon Jimmy Standert. Standert is Jimmy’s last name. Jimmy Standert burns and looks black. It tastes like it has too much alcohol. Liza tied herself to a flagpole last night, Hal says.

Liza lives with her husband and her two children in a five bedroom house. The house is next to Jimmy’s bar. Liza and Hal lie in bed. They are naked. They lie under white sheets. It is early afternoon. Hal lights a cigarette. You don’t have to do that, Liza says and walks into the bathroom. Hal puts the cigarette out on his arm and screams. Liza sits on the toilet with the hairdryer on.

Hal burned Liza’s house down, Marla says to Nicky. Nicky is Liza’s daughter. She is twelve year’s old. Why do you have cuts on your arms, Nicky asks. Marla has cuts on her arms because she cuts herself when she is scared. I don’t feel anything because I am numb, Marla says and walks into the backyard. Hal sits on a chair that he bought last summer so that he could sit in the backyard and watch the trees. You were fucking her weren’t you, Marla says. Go back inside, Hal says. Are we living here now, Nicky asks.

Have you seen Jackie, Jimmy asks. The weather man says that it is going to snow and that the entire town is going to look like the North Pole. The North Pole is where Santa lives, Nicky says. Don’t be stupid, Hal says. Two men in a car with a siren drive into the driveway and park. Are those police officers, Hal asks. I don’t think you are going to live here after all, Hal says. One police officer gets out of the car. The other officer talks on the radio and looks bored.

Have you seen Jackie Standert, Greg asks. Greg is five ten and looks like a Hollywood actor but he is really a police officer in a small town and he is gay. That is my wife, Jimmy says. We heard she was missing, Greg says. Oh, Hal says. Marla stands on the deck and picks at her fingers. The weather man says it is supposed to snow and turn this whole town into a white blanket, Marla says. But it is almost May, Greg says.

Liza is asleep on the couch. Louis knocks on the door. She is asleep, Marla says. Louis walks past Marla. Louis weighs two hundred and thirty three pounds. Louis has lost a little bit of his hair. Why did you burn down the house, Louis asks Liza. Liza is still very much asleep.

Why did you burn down the house, Greg asks. Greg stands in the entranceway with his hands on his belt. I fell asleep smoking, Liza says. Marla drinks coffee and sits at the breakfast table. Marla wears a bathrobe. Louis was here earlier, Marla says and stares at the newspaper. The newspaper says that two more people were found at the bottom of a lake. The newspaper says that they got caught in a storm. Two more people, Hal asks. Hal stares at the one tree that is in blossom. It is spring not winter, he thinks. Yes, Marla says.

Where is Louis now, Greg asks. Greg is too young to be a detective, Marla thinks. Hal is dressed in golfing clothes. He stands in the kitchen and eats toast and he is grinning. Louis was fucking Jackie, Marla says to Hal. Hal laughs. Jackie burned up like a little piece of newspaper and she is dead, Greg says and looks at Marla. But you don’t smoke, Marla says to Liza. Liza starts to cry. Marla takes the blouse out of the dryer.


No comments: