Today’s post is another short story by Tomás. I think this is my favorite piece of his fiction that I’ve ever read. I specifically requested that he allow me to publish this one on the blog. So you better fucking like it! I mean. Wait. I’m posting this on someone else’s behalf, so I should probably be nicer. But I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m grumpy. So I had to throw a “fucking” in here. You know how it is.
The point is. Forget I said anything. Cleanse your brainmeat of my nonsense and read. This story gives me chills. Does it give you chills, too?
The Brook trout clutched in his hands offered one last twitch. It was dead. Blood oozed out of each gill and dribbled over white knuckles like warm chocolate syrup. Eyes bulged slightly as Joey gently squeezed. Nobody was around, but Joey spoke anyway, it kept him company.
“You sure are neat. You feel all cold and warm and slimy-dry all at once!”
The pines began to sway.
“You keep me safe till Mommy comes back,” he said. “I hope she’s not mad about you, Daddy.”
Daddy didn’t answer, only floated silently.
An afternoon drizzle began to coat the land in grey. Joey cocked his head.
“Sounds like bacon cookin.”
Joey’s gaze followed a bobbing trail of polished sticks and grass out across the ripples of the lake. A walkway to the island.
“Do ya’ think Daddy’ll get to that island?” Joey asked his prize, holding it up to his face. “It’s so far…must be a zillion miles out there.”
The frying in the water grew louder.
The pulsing in his arms began to nag. Joey looked down. The marks looked like those funny bushes on the shore, red and brown and green. He didn’t like those colors. Ms. Hill always told him he couldn’t see colors well anyway. Joey hated that. He hated her.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. He knew colors, Daddy told him what they were. Daddy used to tell him everything.
“Where are the birds at Daddy? Why aren’t they singing?”
Daddy didn’t answer, just bobbed along the path.
The circular cliffs around the lake started singing. Joey remembered whistling with his toys in the bathtub. “This isn’t a tub,” he said. “It’s a crater. That’s what Daddy called it, Crater Lake. Crater Tub.” Joey saw the high cliffs turn into white ceramic tub-stuff. The water didn’t quite go to the top, only half way. That’s good. He would’ve got in trouble for wasting bath water. “Too much is a waste,” Daddy always said.
Joey laughed as he jumped out of the lawn chair and started down the path near the lake. Winding through giant pines, Joey felt like he was in a crowd at Daddy’s work, all legs, no faces. Everyone just too tall to care.
“We better hurry and get inside,” he said to his little friend, “Mommy’ll spank us if we get too wet.”