Ms. Fix-it’s Christmas

All the nails Harry drove into the post were bent. As Rose stood above him watching, he bashed another one in, crooked again. His head pounded so much when she was near you’d think he was a nail and she the hammer.

“How many times this month have you fixed this section of fence, Harry?”

“Three, I believe. Yes, three. That’s all. I’m improving, eh Rose?” His smile matched the nail.

“Wouldn’t you rather be planting herbs or tending the lily beds?” she asked.

Rose proposed a solution. Hire her boyfriend Derrick who had many talents -including pounding nails.

A boyfriend? Harry pulled at his bumptious eyebrow hairs, hating the boy instantly. Harry’s imagination bent and followed the curves of the twisted nails thinking about Rose and her lover. Continue reading

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Rose Laine

Harry plucked burrs from the tall black llama, Elvis’, coat, humming “You were always on my mind”, and glancing every few seconds through the window of the Twist of Fate, their knitting studio in the converted barn. He could see Vee and Rose Laine in profile. Neither smiled. They looked like they were negotiating a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, not participating in a job interview. Vee didn’t smile much these days. She told Harry smiling pulled on the scarred skin of her scalp which felt like wet tissue paper about to tear. Continue reading

Kill your darlings*

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Cardamine hirsuta

Two years after the burning apple tree firebombed her cousin and killed him with flaming apples – the aftermath of the opprobrious roach flicking incident which ignited Veronica’s hair and sparked the desiccated old apple tree – Veronica felt healed. Tattoos in a repeating pattern of two intertwined flowers – Speedwell (her name) and cardamine hirsuta (Harry’s name) – decorated her scarred and hairless scalp, symbols of the business they created from the ashes of her cousin’s torched life. Harry thanked the gods for Veronica’s protean gifts. She was hardy, his darling Vee. Continue reading

Seytan Robb – Hooker

After the logging accident Seytan Robb was stuck. He had been a “hooker”, an irony cousin Vero would eventually note in the obituary and snigger about with Harry in private moments. His medical marijuana cost him the small inheritance from his fucking useless old man. In six hazy months, he’d burned through every nickel. When the smoke cleared, he looked around the llama farm, the extensive gardens now over run with unmarketable weeds, and at his shriveled right arm and leg and panicked.  Continue reading