The Once Boy


The road is straight and has trees on its sides and the trees are painted gold and silver and made of metal. Sue is large like a whale. Her skin is white and she steals pennies from the box at the grocery store. The grocery store is on the river. The river is blue.


The boy is called boy and he is thin and he does not like to open his left eye because in the summertime the sun is yellow and hot. Then I can’t see at all with either eye, the boy says.


The boy and Sue are on the road and Sue holds the boy’s hand. We are close to the city, Sue says.


Sue breathes out and makes perking sounds with her teeth. Sue looks fat. The boy wonders how Sue is going to be able to walk all the way to the end of the road.


The bishop lives in the city. The bishop is holy and knowledgeable. The bishop has sex with other bishops and sometimes the other bishops have sex with boys that are not bishops.


I have yellow skin on my thighs, the boy thinks and he decides that he will probably open his eye when he sees the bishop. I am tired of keeping my eye closed, the boy says.


The bishop is dead, Sue says. The boy starts to cry.


An army truck passes. Sue sticks out her hand. The army truck stops. Are you going to the city, Sue asks. The man smells like tobacco and has marks on his face. We are going to the city, the man says.

Why does the boy close one eye, the man asks.


The back of the truck is filled with men in camouflage. The men have rifles. The men look tired. You look tired, the boy says. The truck stops. We are in the city, Sue says. Sue and the boy get out of the truck.

The truck drives away and the men with camouflage and rifles do not look back at the boy.


The city is filled with birds and the birds fly around in the air and run around on the ground and the birds are white and gray and some of them are black.


Sue and the boy walk to the tall building in the middle of the city. At the entrance to the building, Sue talks to a woman in a white and black gown. The woman is old and wrinkled and has tanned skin. Come this way, the woman says to the boy.


The boy follows the woman up many many stairs and into a room with a big window. The city looks very beautiful and the birds look very small from the room high in the tall building.


There is a man in the room with the big window. The man is thin and wears too many coats. I am the bishop, the man says. You can open your left eye, the man says.


The boy opens his left eye.


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