Short stories

Two Grand

He said he wanted the apple and I told him that the apple was really an onion and he laughed and said that he would have the apple and I told him that the apple was an onion and the onion belonged to me and he said that what was his was mine and what was mine was his. I told I was saving the onion and I had plans for the onion and I told that I hoped the onion would ramify and that we would have an armful of onions. He laughed. Barked. Farted loudly. It was a cruel laugh. The fart reeked. He showed his serrated teeth, black. He said that apples grow on trees. Yes I said. Trees take years he said. I placed the onion before him and told him to look at the onion and he looked at the onion and light invaded his eyes and his face glowed red and he licked his lips. He farted again. This fart was louder and fuller than the last fart. Have we any salt he asked. I shook my head and I told him we had pepper. Black like your teeth I said sans smile.  He said that an apple does not need salt. Clever. I agreed. He smiled. I watched his ears lift, pig’s ears. I picked up the onion. What are you going to do with that he asked. I pointed to the hole in the ground. It was a small hole. I had spent a week digging the hole. The ground was frozen. I had to use my hands. He had watched me dig the hole and he did not offer to help. He could have helped. Are you digging your grave he asked. Yes I said. In the past if there is such a thing as the past he had helped. Together we had dug holes, my older brother and I, many holes. It’s a grand hole he said. I thanked him. It will rain today he said. I smiled. Don’t smile he said. Thank you for the reminder I said. My pleasure he said. I nodded my head. That’s better he said showing me his black teeth. My brother the showoff the bighead the manabouttown. My mouth is without teeth but has a fine array of gum diseases. Too many to catalogue. Let me have a look at the apple again he said. I reminded him that what I was holding in the hand and was planning on growing in the soil was an onion. I was once called an onion he said. Yes I said. Yes he said. Why I asked. I could bring a tear to a girl’s eye he said. There was color in his cheeks and his eyes had enlarged. He was very happy my brother. How I asked. He stood up and unzipped his slacks and before I could protest he showed me the onion and he laughed and swung the onion before the tip of my nose. That is no onion I said. What he said. It is a cucumber I said. Yes he said proudly and trying to shive it into my mouth he said it’s a shit trouble maker by Christ. Put it away I said. He coiled the monster and stuffed it into the aperture and while zipping his fly he whistled ostentatiously. The proof that we are seeds from a different fruit he said. Yes I said and added a swan will never come from the meeting of two hippos. He sat back down and he rubbed his belly and I rubbed my belly. Let me feel the apple he said. Vexed I passed him the onion. He weighed the onion. This apple could feed the both of us he said. I nodded my head. The onion was still an onion but I was vexed. Brother he said and he added go inside the house and fetch the knife. I held out my hand. Don’t you trust me brother he said. I shook my head and he laughed and farted a phenomenon. He tossed the onion at me and I caught the onion. That’s a fine apple that is he said. He licked his lips and rubbed his belly. I carried the onion into the house and after being out in the air the fusty odor of the house stirred the hunger and I saw unreal apples and pears and spuds in the mold and mildew and I placed the onion on the table and picked up the knife and it was a very sharp knife and to test the sharpness of the knife I removed a node of my fuzz and I looked at the removed hair. Grey. I picked up the onion and carried the onion and the knife outside. Rain he said. I had forgotten why I had gone inside but I was holding a knife and I showed him the knife and I shrugged my shoulders and arched my eyebrows and smacked my lips. Hand me the knife he said. I handed him the knife. I closed my eyes and tried to remember why I had gone into the house and I why I had a knife and why I had handed my brother the knife but all I saw when I closed my eyes and thought was nothing. Seeing me thinking impelled him to laugh. That old McCormick hit you hard and often he said. I nodded my head and I tried to remember the fight. It started well. Fair play said Old Joyce seeing a good left and a good right. Old McCormick tried to take the center but I moved him on with two uppercuts and a few jabs. Blood. I cut him above the eye and the crowd clapped and cheered. The blood flowed and Old Joyce said fair play to you both. Old McCormick ducked under a right and. We lost two grand. Pass me that apple said my brother. It’s an onion I reminded him. He never forgave me. It’s an apple he said. No I said and I held up the onion. It’s a grand looking apple he said. Yes grand I said. Yes Two grand said he. I told him that the apple was really an onion and he laughed and said that he would have the apple and I told him that the apple was an onion and the onion belonged to me and he said that what was his was mine and what was mine was his and I asked him for the knife and he said he would swap the apple for the knife and I agreed. After three we will swap he said. We counted. One two three. We swapped. He held the onion to his nose and inhaled and I looked at the bevel of the knife and it was sharp and he licked his lips and I spat on the knife, both sides and polished the knife on me slacks and he bit into the apple and he chewed and then he groaned and he dropped the onion and it started to rain and I went over and kicked the onion into the hole. You gobshite you done me good you give me an onion for an apple and I see the apple in your slacks. I held up the knife and told him that I would stick him with the knife if he came any closer. The rain turned the soil to mud. He jumped out of his chair and tried to glue his hands around me neck. I tried to stick him with the knife. He moved quickly. He hit me with a right no a left no a right no a left no a right and

Larry Kowwowski        

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