It’s Been a Weird Weekend

I’m pretty sure the washer is broken. Like “gone to meet its maker” broken. Which, you know, is not good, considering I just spent all our money on a hot water heater. I also suspect, since they went out at the same time, that the same thing happened to both of them, which I’m going to guess is “appliances a decade old froze this winter.”

So, that’s bumming me out a little. And by “a little” I mean “I think I’d be crying, but my brain will not let me process this terrible news.”

But I finished My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, which was fantastic. Holy cow. It’s long, but honestly, it’s nice that it’s that long because it means you can read in it for a long time, just enjoying it, and not run out of book. I’m not sure all of the experimental stuff works, exactly, and fucking Neil LaBute is in there. But other than that, it’s really amazing.

And I’ve got some great feedback on the book, so I’m feeling less distraught about it. And the dog and I went to Brookemeade Park and I actually found myself sitting in my car like some kind of busybody trying to figure out why there were so many cars and so few people! What has happened to me, readers? Now I’m the kind of person who sits in my car trying to catch people in illicit activities? For the record, I caught no one doing anything interesting other than sneaking a smoke.

How the Devil Came to Wear Papa Limba’s Hat

“Oh, well, then,” he raised his eyebrow, “here’s a story. The Devil—that’s me—was known to hang out at crossroads, it’s true, just waiting to steal someone’s soul. But the soul of a musician? Please, those things are so easy to come by I don’t have to get out of bed to get them.

“Yes, I was known to hang out at crossroads. The thing most people don’t know is that I’m not the only one. Papa Limba walks Highway 61 more often than I, has for years.

“I met him at the crossroads once, and he said to me ‘Scratch, in Memphis, my people know me and in New Orleans, my people know me, but here in the Delta, they all go to church.’

“And I said, ‘That’s too bad, Papa Limba, but maybe that just means you should spend more time in the cities and leave the country folks to me.’

“Papa Limba leaned hard on his cane, and looked up at me.

“’Yeah, I considered that,’ he said. Sometimes he had what sounded like a French accent, and sometimes his accent sounded so country and sometimes you couldn’t recognize where he was from. ‘But that’s not going to work. Just because my people don’t know me no more don’t mean I don’t know my people.’

“I shrugged. I have time. And no desire to fight old men.  I turned away from him to head on down the road when I heard this noise, like rain on hard ground, and I looked down to see beads, tiny blue beads, rolling around me. I couldn’t help myself. I had to count them.

“I had to count them,” he said, leaning hard on the ‘had,’ “and as I was squatting there separating the ones I had numbered from the ones I had not yet counted, Papa Limba ran his sharp knife down my back, grabbed a hold of my skin and flipped his wrists so hard it popped me right out of my skin. I kept counting, but faster now, obviously. I wanted to save my skin, but first things first.

“Papa Limba took off his clothes, folded them nicely and set them carefully on the ground. I was almost done. He then shook out my skin like pants fresh from the dryer and stepped right into me, put my skin on like a suit. And I was done counting. I stood and looked at him, looking back at me with my own handsome face, my tail already flipping behind him in contentment. My tail whipping behind me in anger.

“’So, that’s it,’ I said. ‘You’ll be me.’

“’When it suits me,’ he said. ‘When I need to be.’

“’Fair enough,” I said, and I grabbed his beautiful old top hat right off the pile of his clothes and put it on my own head. He tried to hook me with his cane, but in my other hand, I still had all of those tiny beads and I spilled them at him, this time, and my fresh skin still knew that the count had to happen, and so Papa Limba dropped to his… my… his knees and our hands began the sort.

“Meanwhile, I headed off south towards Vicksburg, itching a little as my new skin came in, but enjoying the shade of my new hat.”