No One Knew

No one knew why his neighborhood got hit so many times. It might’ve been the lay of the surrounding farmland, now splattered with monster homes since old man Bix died and his kids sold off most of the land. The Reiki woman told him the indigenous spirits were angry. God knows weird shit had happened close by, like the suicides, the skulls found in the excavation just down the road across from the cemetery, and well, grisly stuff in the creek I won’t even share. The long row of arrowheads carefully laid out on his dresser was plenty evidence he took something that wasn’t his. And that would explain the lightning strikes on the property too.

Pam’s roof got blown off last year and the Cinder’s farm next door, leveled in 2018. Jim always managed to miss them. He was always at the shop working late—in Janesville, the sister town. Some called him lucky. But some of their trees got ripped from their roots a couple times, and coming home to find your wife’s car under an unhinged oak is plenty proof of your insignificance in the larger scheme of things. Jean, his wife was always home to tell him about the green skies, the train-like screech, the siren sounds, and the sheer helplessness and terror in the face of it all.

But Jean was gone now, and it was the big-C, not tornadoes that took her out. One day she complained of throbbing in her temple, and it was already too late. She went fast. Died at home in the den. Not the retirement Jim wanted. Three months after he punched out for the last time, tossed his steel toes into the dumpster, and signed for a loan on the camper, she was gone, just like that, taking with her his whole future.

The dumb silence was enough to drive a man crazy. And whenever he tried turning on the radio, the music stirred something in his chest that’d bring him to his knees. Everything in the house smelled of her, the potpourri she made from lavender she had grown and dried in the kitchen windows. He could hardly stand it. Six months after she departed, he felt as bad as he did the day she squeezed his hand, smiled, then faded into the ceiling. So when he looked through the large picture window at the south side of the den and saw the sky go green and dark, and the three funnels doing their slow dance on the horizon, he pulled up his recliner as if watching big-screen football, pulled Jean’s black and purple afghan up over his shoulders, and smiled as the roar grew louder, closer. At last, he could listen to music again.

(OKAY, I started a piece…)

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