There is something dead under the porch but we are ignoring it. I say, the flies. They are many. She says, I know. But there’s nothing in my direct view. I ask, Did you look under the porch? No. Ok, I say. I won’t look either, then. We nod our heads and smile close-mouthed. The energy soothes itself.

The floors are clean enough, just dust and bits of old pastry and of course some Xanny and children’s vitamins are knotted into the avocado shag rug. We watch the very first episode of Murder She Wrote. Next, we watch the very last episode of Murder She Wrote. We eat exotic foods, like brie-flavored potato chips, encrusted topically with rock salt. We expectorate using friction and a small washboard made with kitchen helpfulness as its only intent. Stolen sustenance, stolen resource. Both are swiped from the historic WoonWinkel, an experimental child village/boutique on the corner of Washington and 10th Street. The luxury sodium atrophies my brain. My tongue, she is parched. The historic WoonWinkel serves as fraternal trade school for toddles to pre-teens. Culinary school. They offer apprenticeships in constructing petite wicker divans for the esteemed students, referred to as Winkels. These children are deemed genius by the founder of historic WoonWinkel—Dr. Terry—an old veterinarian and always entrepreneur. He is quite adored all about town, you see.

There is still something dead under the porch. We are ignoring it hours after initially agreeing to ignore it but flies are starting to come inside and have developed muscular fly deltoids with which to lift larger and larger bits of rock salt, a rogue piece of mold-cultured apologetic cake. We work so hard to keep this lovely, solid home together. To look under this home would really fuck things up. Why investigate what is already obscured? The systems of our lives do not wish to allow it. Who are we to challenge God’s big face and the shadows that protect the belly of our small home’s porch?

We once went to couples’ therapy for wayward lady couples. We were asked not to return. In this window of time we declared our relationship a structure. We named it Trust Hut. Just us. And for one hour and twenty-two minutes, just us and also the therapist. Her face was long as a nice spoon and her earrings were shaped faintly as Shredded Wheat, little puffy things that seemed interactive but ultimately proved to be merely decorative in nature. She didn’t like us staring at her and breathing through our noses. But isn’t she used to this sort of thing? We wanted her help but we needed to sniff her out some first. The first and most important step in Trust Hut. She didn’t even make it through the front door into our Trust Hut Foyer—a place I imagined to be full of cacti and stacks of old Yellow Pages. She had a wet sneeze that made me suspect she was living with Syphilis. A goddamn shame it was. But it taught us self-reliance with one another.

We retire to the bedroom. What else can be done? Our breath is hot and we drink it out of one another as if it is Tang or nutrient-rich water of a coconut or coconut flavored mineral waters. Our eyes widen in the thick of distraction—begot passion. You take off my Wednesday underpants with your teeth. It is Sunday. We shiver in the July heat of our bed. It is more pit than bed, more agitating than comforting. The bed slats, they are impotent. Unstapled whale planks of hollow balsa wood that fell long ago onto linoleum that pretends to be marble. Halos of dust and crusted out Target thongs. An old plastic medicinal cup that once held brandy and Nyquil as a makeshift tonic for a long-extinct sinus infection lay in near-erotic disarray under the bed and of course this is known without us looking under the bed. If we are anything we are consistent in our habits. Trust hut. Just us.

You finger me and tell me to say your name. A fly whines in my ear as I start to twitch around your sodium and heat-swole digits. You say, look into my eyes. I do. Then you say, look down. I do. You say, look at what I am doing here. Do you observe my technique? I am knuckling you. I nod and then I sigh in a trilling manner. Your lilac painted nail scooches up and down my warmest of inflammable body spots in a way that is electrifying in its near-banality.

I remember when we first met and you said, Nice to meet. Just like that. No “you.” As if it would be nice to meet anything at all and not just me. Nice to meet for lunch. Nice to meet an angry neighbor dog. Nice to meet one’s own mortality in a train wreck or a swallowing of arsenic. You had on purple eyeliner that was smudged on one side in a way that might have been on purpose. So carefully made wrong. I found you captivating and I could tell that you could see this in my pupils because the captivation was reflected back into your own pupils in a way that was charming and also terrifying in its sheer honesty.

At the historic WoonWinkel, there are very important rituals in place. Such an honorable institution would have it no other way. The Winkels file from room-to-room in a perfect line. A waterfowlish fashion. There is one little Winkel with the hands of a grown man. The hands have thick purplish veins like a lumberjack who has known adult encounters. His nametag reads: Wendell. Wendell is composed of cinnamon shades in a way that makes me think he was a colicky infant. I picture him red-faced when he cries for his mother’s chest. Wendell smiles only when the other Winkels have earned it. Smart boy. He has a gap tooth grin. I know this because I watch the Winkels quite regularly. For security purposes and for stealing things.

You and I have a bad altercation. I have uttered Wendell’s little name. In our beddish pit, no less. During passion, no less. I am concerned for the Winkel. You are jealous. We have talked about this before. Stop watching the children at the historic WoonWinkel, you say. Ok, I will. I say. And we smile and embrace, but I don’t stop watching the children at the historic WoonWinkel. My complicit nature was hollow from the start. And we know this.

Wendell has been missing for several days. Everything in my brain is crowded to utter distress without his perfect little gap grin holding everything in place. The waterfowlish fashion has run amuck. The child furniture has lost its luster. The soufflés are sinkholes of elegiac yeast. Dr. Terry summons the Winkels into a crescent formation to speak serious words. His adoration remains evident upon his whiskered chin. A solemn day indeed at the historic WoonWinkel.

Yesterday, I saw a crow in the front yard eating what looked like wet cat food. It saw me and recognized me as its sinister neighbor of sorts. A connection. I got closer and saw it was actually something much worse. A garland of flies paraded behind the crow and the crow had pride in this as if he sired them by design. It was both ugly and beautiful. I took this as a good omen and felt hope swell inside myself.  

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