A Patch of Turnips
I hear him. He's saying not now, not yet. It's always the same cricket, and he's always saying the same thing. Not now, not yet.
I'm sorry for all the beer I drank, all them varmints I shot nightly while sitting in my Cape Cod chair, whooping so they'd look up at me and my flashlight, each one stupider than the next. You'd think they'd mingle in their burrows, spread the news about me and my fire stick. Those poor, burly buggers, digging and digging all the time so my vegetables never seen the light of day.
"Why we planting so many turnips this year?" my Martha had asked me quite rightly so. "You know how you get when you eat turnips, same as how you get when you eat cabbage, and those wieners you like to barbeque."
They were never meant for us, my sweet bug.
I'm sorry for all the beer I drank, all those rusted, upturned, screw caps in the grass just waiting to be stepped on. I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry.
"Well, you know I can't go out there unless I'm wearing your boots," Martha said because she loves her feet bare.
I must have chipped a sharp one, and he must have warned the others, because the digging stopped suddenly. It got quiet, like they all figured the next house would be just as good. Woke up in my Cape Cod, all the beer I'd drunk in my boots, my .22 still full with shot. Only thing I remembered was that cricket saying what he was saying.
"What we supposed to do with all the turnips?" she wanted to know.
Fuck me if I knew. "Didn't your momma leave you a recipe for turnips?" She didn't like that.
Not now. Not yet, at least, my cricket says.
First time I heard them words, I mean first time I really heard them and understood what they was telling me, I started thinking about all the little marmot bodies I'd tossed in the lake, how I'd spun them through the air, made them skip a couple times on the surface of the water before sinking.
Not now. Not yet, my cricket was saying over and over, like I was thick in the head, or hard of hearing.
"You're right," I answered back, shut my eyes so I could my see my Martha stepping into my dirty old boots, the spare ones, squishing and mingling her feet-smell with mine, not a stitch of clothing on her farm girl body. Just like that.
For right now, he tells me nightly, you aren't dead yet.