Saturday, January 14, 2017
Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton
release date: December 5, 2016
sub-genre: Literary Science Fiction, Satire
Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window. Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide. Jenny’s nose bled.
“WHAT THE HELL…GIVES YOU THE RIGHT…TO THINK...that you can THROW AWAY…something that is MINE?” her father screamed.
Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.
“Where’s my SWITCH?” Dwayne left the kitchen.
Lacy Dawn felt for her knife.
I hope Mommy runs for it.
Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood. At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn't complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.
If it's okay with him, I'll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that'd be better. I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She'd be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway.
Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.
“She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes.
I’ve never called him Dwayne before.
“Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”
“I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”
“Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”
Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture.
“Not that grandma -- the other one -- your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”
Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward.
“I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they're gone.”
“That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”
Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.
He's starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?
Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.
“But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now -- with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.”
Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.
I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he's thinking too hard.
“Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”
He paused. The point of the switch lowered to the floor.
Damn. I can't think of a new name.
"Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…" Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switches that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)
“If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”
“Oh shit," Dwayne said.
I knew this day would come -- ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck…
“Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”
“Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain't about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it -- period.”
“But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.
“I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.
Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.
Things will be forever different.
Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, "Yuck."
Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them.
Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn's head.
The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.
“Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.“He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…
I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia. But, after coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn't have the energy left to begin its self-promotion. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state. A listing of services that are supported can be found here.
The Press: Dog HornPublishing is a traditional small press located in Leeds. Adam Lowe is the owner. The press also showcases other semi avant garde titles and publishes a popular magazine for the GLBTQ community, Vada.