In Hell There’ll Be Good Company

by | December 2020 A (Day 1)

I couldn’t hurt you with a hammer. How was I to know. What did you did do? Nothing, I was zoning on that lady’s feet. Which? The barefoot one dancing in the sawdust. I was watching the sawdust clouds thinking about atomic bomb testing survivors compensation liability bikini atolls and jury duty. That’s his wife. Dancing barefoot?. He’s gone out to his truck to get his hammer. Whatever you do, don’t touch it. The guy’s a fridge, no lights on inside. You best go out the back kitchen door. I’ll stall him. Hand him a free beer. 

The fridge returned with wings. I was dipping my finger in the soup pot. Floor freshly mopped. The hammer a 14 pounder sledge, swinging in palms, the screen door flapped. I sprinted through the pines into the cold waist-high river. Trout skimmed my thighs. Roosters and angels crowed and choired. Layered rounds circled sweet harmony water gush rock crack the bar titled on foundation up on the hill stools flew out windows name shouts warning all clamor the sweet hum of near Glover Vermont once and the weekend long. Studying about that good ol’ way and who shall wear the robe and crown Good Lord, show me the way, sang some grinning beaver as resurrection turned from ascension to comprehension.

4 Comments

  1. Bud Smith

    Hi David,
    This is really wild. The first paragraph of it feels disjointed from the second on first read but then after a few reads I figured out that the fridge is a descriptor of a dumb body builder man and I understood what was happening. I really connected with that second paragraph right away by the way, even before I understood what the story was. There is so much beauty there in the sonics and the poetics. The second paragraph, even void of my comprehension, I took in as brilliant in the way reading Gravity’s Rainbow or Ulysses can often be beautiful though I have to study it and meet it more than halfway. My critique for this is just that you could show us in simpler terms a few things that are happening in language that is not as abstract, but I don’t know if that will suck all the fun out. Maybe it will. Maybe you’re just fine how you are … here, I’ll experiment with moving a few things around tho:

    In Hell There’ll be Good Company
    by David O’Connor

    I was zoning and the lady was barefoot dancing in the sawdust. I was watching the sawdust clouds thinking about atomic bomb testing survivors compensation liability bikini atolls and jury duty.
    That’s his wife.
    Dancing?
    He’s gone out to his truck to get his hammer. Whatever you do, don’t touch it. The guy’s a fridge, no lights on inside. You best go out the back kitchen door. I’ll stall him. Hand him a free beer.
    The fridge returned with wings. I was dipping my finger in the soup pot. Floor freshly mopped. The hammer a 14 pounder sledge, swinging in palms, the screen door flapped.
    I couldn’t hurt you with a hammer.
    How was I to know.
    What did you did do?
    Nothing.
    I sprinted through the pines into the cold waist-high river. Trout skimmed my thighs. Roosters and angels crowed and choired. Layered rounds circled sweet harmony water gush rock crack the bar titled on foundation up on the hill stools flew out windows name shouts warning all clamor the sweet hum of near Glover Vermont once and the weekend long. Studying about that good ol’ way and who shall wear the robe and crown Good Lord, show me the way, sang some grinning beaver as resurrection turned from ascension to comprehension.

    Just a little experiment there, same language, but organized a little gentler, maybe will let in more of a crowd

  2. Amy Barnes

    Love the musicality here. There is a rhythm in the words that twists around on itself until we have an actual singing beaver — what an unexpected detail. The light-handed Biblical references play well on the poetic quality like this almost a twisted piece of scripture.

    “barefoot one dancing in the sawdust.”
    “the fridge returned with wings”
    “dipping my finger in the soup pot”
    “trout skimmed my thighs”
    “roosters and angels crowed and choired”

    “who shall wear the robe and crown Good Lord”
    “resurrection turned from ascension to comprehension”

    While this works in the flash format, I could almost see it as more prose poetry, more breathless paragraph, more italics to emphasize the poetic sections like: “atomic bomb testing survivors compensation liability bikini atolls and jury duty” and “layered rounds circled sweet harmony water gush rock crack the bar.” Simply italicizing the sound words could separate/emphasize them within the other descriptions and storytelling.

  3. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Hi David, Didn’t see this until this morning– Monday–so this is a rapid take. Dynamite work. Bud’s critique would ease the first time reader’s grasp of it, but the stream of consciousness works as well. The whole work is brilliant. Love it. I think I’m going to copy it and roll around in it a few more times just to get that sawdust fridge with no lights on inside going. Thanks and sorry I missed this the first day.

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