Smoking With Gary Cadwallader

Read the Story December 15, 2004

Gary, you have this amazing history with micros, at places like The Phone Book, and I know you’ve engaged in exercises like writing fifty stories in a day. I thought it might be fun for our readers to see that mind at work. So… I’m going to pop out five prompts, and you pop out five micros. Ready to give it a shot?

Crows’ feathers.

I live nine miles from the B2 base. This guy I see every day has a black Hummer. This is Hummer country. Khaki, camouflage, and now black. Hummer, Hummer, Hummer. We’ll all drive Hummers pretty soon, even me if they’ll only add a pick-up bed. Of course, my hummer will be fifteen years old and covered with spots of gray primer and me and Tyree will hunt from the El Camino bed we added on the back utilizing the latest duct-taping techniques. Probably have a Bark-o-lounger in there too. We’ll shoot muzzle loaders with black carbon stocks and the smoke will rise like crows on a windy, winter day.

Elephant graveyard.

There’s this chick – right now, working in the next room, doing a Code Blue in-service. She’s got a big ass and she’s bending over a dummy, giving it artificial respiration – only now, you use a squeeze bottle and this bendy, flexy tube that you put down the dummy’s life-like mouth. The girl is a cutie. Pretty face. Pretty hair. Too bad she’s got those hips, like Siamese elephant twins… and good-god she’s wearing corduroy.

Oh, she just traded places with the dark-haired girl. Nicer bum to look at, but man… the dummy just died.

Robert Mapplethorpe.

Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob. Everywhere I look it’s me, Bob, in black and white and sweat and skin and Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob.

How weird is it to empty a room and fill it only with photographs?

My step-father’s name was Robert… Bob. He died out of his head, saying endless Hail Mary’s. I told him it was all right. I lied. Welcome to BobLand.

Oscillating fans.

Don’t get me started on fans! Lemme tell ya bout electricity… it may work out, maybe not. First thing is you need a renewable resource. Oil ain’t renewable. Horse poop is renewable. Every day I get forty pounds of fresh made horse poop. That’s per horse, by the way. Every day I gotta feed hay – which is just grass – and spread straw – which is the inedible part of wheat – and grain the horses and water and check their damn hooves and make sure Bianca, that’s the rowdy bitch with the blonde mane, hasn’t gotten out like she did yesterday when I looked outside and there’s this damn horse running through my back yard looking all pretty-like with her head up and lifting her knees real high.

She wouldn’t let me catch her… damn horse. But she wouldn’t leave her buddy, Tea and Sympathy, either. Nah, I didn’t name Tea. This guy in Kansas City named her. Him and his wife was on a Show Tunes kick at the time. Anyway, Bianca ain’t going anywhere because Tea is the dominant mare, see? And Bianca keeps running back to the fence to smooth things over with Tea. So, I go and get a cup of grain and there ain’t no way Bianca can resist that…so finally, she comes over where I can grab her halter.

I knowed a cowboy once that tried to rope Bianca. Took him three hours and she jumped two fences, over and back again. Barbed wire. Got all cut up she did. All he needed was a cup of grain. That’s cowboys for ya and that’s all I know about oscillating fans.

Wrinkles.

My wife is starting to get wrinkles. Now this is news! She’s had four kids and turned forty-six, but she’s still a little smidgen, usually on the slim side of a hundred pounds – and yeah, I’m bragging, but you would too. Today she had lunch with me and I felt like everyone was staring at us wondering, “How did he get her?” She wore the new nursey pants I bought her – they’re called scrubs and they’re pink. She wears them with a blue and silvery top, white turtle-neck underneath. She wipes the behinds of wrinkly men and gives the old folks showers and feeds them with a spoon over at the retirement home. And sometimes the old people pass away in the night. I hope Cowboy John doesn’t pass away because she’ll cry and her eyes won’t be as bright and maybe she won’t smile as much or wear bright colors and talk too loud and make people laugh.

John’s hell for her to lift. He’s three-hundred pounds and my wife uses a sling and a helper. Cowboy asks for her when she’s there. “Have her move me,” he says. “She’s right gentle.” And he knows his worn-out hips won’t fall off and his legs lay helpless on the floor like cattle struck dead by lightning.

About the Author:

Pushcart nominee Gary Cadwallader lives on a small farm in Warrensburg, Missouri where he likes to write about relationships between men and women.

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.