Rumors from the Lost World

Free Rumors from the Lost World by Alan Davis

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Authors: Alan Davis
then he labored down a different set of stairs to the kitchen. Marge was sitting alone in fluorescent glare. “Paul went AWOL,” he told her. “I meant to let you know.” She stared blankly at him. “You hear what I said? AWOL. Absent without leave. He deserted. They think. Nobody knows where the hell he is, to tell the truth. The boy was a lot of things, but he was never a coward.”
    â€œLeon, I want to go home.”
    â€œAll right.” He took her hand.
    â€œI want to go home,” she repeated. “Take me home.”
    â€œThis is a place where a Governor lived,” T. J. Raines yelled from another part of the house, “and now it’s mine, because I’m rich.” His voice turned to the pitch of a barker at a sideshow. “And tonight, tonight we’re going to do it!”
    Great clouds wheeled across the moon. As they pulled into their drive, it cast a fluttering afterglow on the gunmetal stoop. After he unlocked the door and poured drinks for them both, Levoski tried to get hold of some secret. The water of Lake Michigan would be drawn up into clouds. Clouds turn into rain, snow. The same snow on his lawn, soiled by auto exhaust and pages from a newspaper, becomes clear water. It can find its way to Paul on the other side of the world.
    Marge sipped her vodka. “Leon, let’s get up early and go to Mass. We can light a candle for Paul. We can count our blessings.”
    Levoski tapped his glass against the picture window. “Yeah, sure. Anything you say.” He stared into the street, trying to place her voice. He knew it from somewhere, it was very familiar. So was the neighborhood, duplexes mostly well-tended but only a step removed from nearby apartment complexes, landscaped but weather-cracked, bleak like the projects. A wreath on one door, a plaster-of-Paris Jesus in a picture window.
    He saw someone on the sidewalk. Frayed jeans, logging shirt, boots a size or so too large. “Paul!” he shouted, and flung open the door. But Paul had a crewcut, short brisdes, and his pale angry face looked like the moon, whereas the features of the dark silent stranger two doors down were hidden by thick water-greased hair. The stranger paused for a moment, even tilted his head, then the screech of a car sent him on his way.
    In bed, smelling of dust and whiskey, Levoski held hands with Marge until her steady breathing told him she was asleep. He jostled out of bed. The floor creaked like bones in a dark museum. He knew he would be up most of the night. And there was that patchwork job he vowed he would finish. Working in the cold without sleep would feel like purgatory.

T OMORROW I S M Y D ANCING D AY
    I n Alabama all roads lead to Tuscaloosa. Believe it or not,” the girl’s mother says. Perhaps it’s that path of least resistance that takes them to 1-59, that attracts her mother to the trailer park. To her, it’s the average American life. “We’ll stay for a month,” she says.
    Nothing lasts forever, but it takes longer than that to leave. One month of rent, two months of living in with some guy, then something happens. Her mother sniffs it out, and after a week of socking away some money for the road, they force their way past the crucifix tacked to the door. The guy was so religious he wanted to baptize the girl. She told him she wasn’t going to no church, especially not on his account, smarting off exactly the way her mother warned her against. “That’s okay, honey,” he said, his voice nothing but throat. “We don’t have to go to any church. I can do it right here in the tub.”
    Finally their old Chevy squeals from its weedy nest in the trailer park like a motorbike. The guy shakes a fist, fools with his tractor cap until it covers the lines in his forehead, and squints into their dust. “To hell with crap,” her mother says. “I’m giving up crap forever. Turn on the radio

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