Roman Sturgis Take care of each other and make good decisions.

January 15, 2010

The End of the World, Duke, Mary, a Rhinestone Quilt

Filed under: Fiction — Roman @ 12:26 pm

There is a dog who lives with an old woman in a double-wide trailer. Buena Vista Estates outside of Chammysville if you really want to know, but save yourself the trouble of going. Ain’t nothing there cept poor trash: black, brown, and white—a unicultural neighborhood to be sure.

Dog’s name is Duke, sometimes “The Duke,” more often “you sorry sonofabitch” which is what the old woman calls him when she finishes making her drink of Popov vodka and diet Schwepps tonic which she stores on its side to keep from going flat. Or maybe she’s saying it to herself, not The Duke. Hard to tell. She old. Her name Mary.

“It’s for the damn mosquitoes, the quinine, it prevents the malaria,” she’ll tell you if you give her any lip about it.

Mary, she’s a right ornery cuss. And the Duke? Him too. They act like husband and wife, you want to know the truth, the way they fight. “Get off the damn sofa you lazy sonofabitch!” and The Duke just looks at her with those big eyes drooping with watermelon rinds.

Mary, she’s old. Damn old. So damn old she’s got wrinkles on top of wrinkles. She’s so wrinkled, she’s gone smooth again. Like a walnut, that’s what her wrinkles look like. Like a damn walnut. And she’s walnut colored too, from sitting in the sun with an LP cover wrapped in tinfoil under her chin.

She been working on a quilt forever. Forever. By hand, she sews rhinestones in the shape of Elvis’s head. Didn’t start out that way. Started out as a quilt for the seasons, but then she heard Elvis music in 1955 and that done changed everything.

Sometimes she gets up to change the channel on the TV. Or step outside to smoke her Virginia Slims. Or make another drink. And when she do, that old Duke, he get up off the couch and pull out some of them rhinestones with his teeth, cause he know that when Mary finish that quilt, the world gonna end.

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