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I'm breathing fumes from some bugspray in a can. It's not in a can anymore, or the parts I'm breathing aren't . I feel it settling in my temples, speaking in throbs; I feel it digging around in my sinus cavity. "Hello in there," it's shouting. "Anyone need any coat hangers?"


The spiders we ate for thanksgiving tasted more like frog than turkey. Some people like to call turkey chicken. The gravy came sometimes from jars, but more often from bags and pans. I watched, dazed, as all of our pet hamsters, brought together for the first time in years, dragged the half-carved carcass from the kitchen table and across the linoleum. "I never knew before why they called it linoleum," I said, unable to stand up. "Now I understand."

and under

We all had our humvees parked on the hill in front of Uncle Travis' house. Only one of them had a parking brake worth a damn; the rest we let roll down into that one, which we'd strategically placed at the bottom of the hill to give the others a foundation. They prevented anyone else from driving up that hill, but no one in that town was going to say anything to us about it. We were known for the way the trigger mechanisms in our various rifles and shotguns were shaved, so that the tiniest nudge on the things could cause them to go off. Many of the locals had the holes to go with the stories.

never around

We hadn't really expected to do this at Uncle Travis' place again, not after last year. No one can even remember how many days it was before the first one of us to sober up realized we'd nearly ruined the inside of the house by playing tic-tac-toe on the walls, using burnt wood and knives to make our marks; and whoever it was that started trying to stop us ended up buried beside some tree, but nobody can remember where. Nevertheless we were back again this year, with a promise to ourselves to drink no more than was absolutely necessary, and to clean up the spidery mess before we left. We still had to have our guns, though. It ain't Thanksgiving without the guns.