22.3.06

Davy's Dogs and the Great Space Heater

He was three days gone before Davy's farm muts started nosing around and howling at the sun in its zenith. My mother reminds me always that the day was June 17th. Every 17 is circled with black ink on the kitchen calendar, and on those mornings she wakes me up by saying, "He's another month out." Yesterday, my mother told me, "He is a year and two months past the earth now."
Six months after the dogs descended on our lawn to carry him off in pieces, my mother explained death the way she uderstood it. "Energy, T., doesn't stop moving. They say it keeps on going out into space, but it's all changed. After the action, it turns to pure heat. It's the motion after the motion, and it's just drifting through the cosmos."
My father's heat is a year and two months into space and I think of Mars. My father, a tiny space heater. His passions couldn't warm a corner of our livingroom, and now he's left to float aimlessly in the largest livingroom ever devised by man, beast, or god. It's completely cornerless, they say, though I have trouble believing in something without an end.
In the days before Davy's dogs, my father was what people like to call a hard working man. This usually means, as it did for him, that the man is an alcoholic who can tinker with objects, if the need or the inspiration arises. He had cases of beer in the shop, and that was where he spent his time working. My mother would flitter about the house in her useless way, dusting this, vacuuming that, ordering knickknacks from the QVC. Our money came from the land she inherited after my grandfather took his forever trip to space. It wasn't long before we understood that my father would never have the stamina of a farmer, so the vast acres were cut into plots for rent.
I had entered my father's shop exactly five times before he left the atmosphere. There was an unspoken arrangement between us three; my father's shop was his, and we woud not interupt whatever occured inside. The first time I entered, it was to tell him that my mother had just fallen down the basement stairs and cracked her head wide open. Then it was to alert him that the police were waiting for him in the house. The third and the fourth times were stealthy; I entered to understand what gravity pulled him there, a gravity so great that I was growing up without a father. I only found boxes of metal parts, broken machines, planks of wood, and a treasury of beer cans glistening under the light. The fifth and last time was to tell him that there was a boy and a woman in our livingroom, and they said the boy was his.
That was one week before Davy's dogs, four days before galactic travel, and the first day my mother publicly wept in all the years I have known her to weep.

...to be continued

2 comments:

ETC said...

to believe in nothing wihtout corners...
what of this continous/endless transfer of energy...
does it just warm these supposed corners?
Are the corners within this essence of continuity... rounded corners... eliptical maybe...

Anna Nym said...

In an artful dodging-while-creating the question kind of way, you plucked out one of the main themes that is going to be expanded in this story.