I’m mindful of snakes.
You’ve got to be. The property is thick with knee-high grass. Dog fennel.
Could be a canebrake or cottonmouth? You never know.
I cock an ear, listening for a rattle and think, “How’d it come to this?”
This being the cabin. I have other homes, too. Thanks to all those bestsellers. New York. Iowa City or Missoula if I’m teaching. Los Angeles for the work. Georgia for the peace and quiet.
Because it’s quiet I need after meeting another deadline. When I want to wake up to a cold beer. The Winchester above the stone fireplace. A butt naked Shanda or Ashley on the bearskin rug, drawl thick as an oil change, telling me about beauty school. Or a sick Daddy. Or the lousy tip from last night.
Some of ‘em I let go. Some of ‘em I keep.
There’s my johnboat at the end of the dock, shimmering like a Cadillac. Titmice sounding distressed no matter the hour. Darters spearing their lunch. I never noticed them till now.
I light a cigarette and ponder which drag could give me cancer.
Then walk, barefoot, to the edge of the pond. Thinking of that reviewer from the New York Times. He thinks I’m brilliant. They all do.
But I’m not.
I enter the water.
Thinking of the girls I killed in my books.
And the real ones I fed to this pond.
I stand, waist-high in muck, ready to meet my maker.
Waiting for the first gator to grab an ankle and roll. Fill my lungs with the murky depths.
Happy my girls will have the last laugh after all.
Peter Farris a writer from Cobb County, GA. His debut novel will be published by Macmillan/Forge next summer. Find him online at www.peterfarris.blogspot.
com or follow him on Twitter (@pjfarris)