Pastoral Genocide

It Don’t Let Up
January 28, 2009, 6:40 am
Filed under: Writing | Tags: , ,

My son is twenty seven years old and stands three feet, eight inches tall. He is a little person. His name is Dick. My name is Dick, too.

When Dick came along, we were overjoyed. I was twenty nine, she was twenty six and he was our first kid. Turned out, our only kid. We wanted a couple more but it just wasn’t in the cards.

When Dick was four, she died in her sleep. The doc said she had an irregular heartbeat. Her name was Mary and I’d known her since I was fifteen years old. I met her at the county fair. She was showing chickens and I was showing hogs. That was the year I sold a pig to the Centreville IGA for 75 dollars.

Fast forward seventeen years and she’s dead and I’ve got a dwarf for a kid.

Life is harder for short folks. They can’t reach into the cupboard for a juice glass. They can’t re-adjust the showerhead and they can’t sit at a normal sized table in a normal sized chair. Sure, we all got our problems, but little people, they gotta carry theirs around with them wherever they go. It just don’t ever let up.

One good thing about Dickie being so short is that I’ve only ever had to buy him one bed. He still sleeps on the mattress we bought him when he was a baby. I told him once, “Dickie, it don’t make no sense to buy you a new bed. It just don’t.” I’ve always felt a little bad about that. But the fact of the matter is that change comes with consequences and there ain’t a point in dealing with it unless you really have to.

It’s always embarrassed me to have a little person for a son. I mean, fuck. I played football and baseball in high school. I looked good without a shirt on. I remember it being midsummer and evening and I was standing in the dark. We were in the field, me and a couple of other boys. It was humid. We’d been at it all day and we were all tired but we knew we had to finish. My arms were scratched up from the bales and they felt like jelly, but I saw the goal and I was young and strong. Point is, I always imagined I’d have a son who would live a life like the one I lived. Thought maybe my tradition would become his. Didn’t happen that way, though.

Now, Dickie and I live together. He’s a short man and I’m an old man and we get along alright. Maybe we need each other or maybe we’ve just grown accustomed to being around each other.

The other day, we were talking. And Dickie told me that he was a virgin. I said to him, “what?” I guess I suspected it. I been around him his whole life and the only time girls would give him the time of day was when they was making fun of him. And it got me thinking that what the hell, no one wants to die a virgin. So I bought him a hooker out of the phone book. I got myself one, too. The man on the phone said it was cheaper that way. They showed up at our doorstep wearing fake fur coats. One was tall and black and the other was a little shorter, a white girl that looked like she had a methamphetamine problem.

I let Dickie have the shorter one on account of him also being so short. After it was done, I asked the ladies to stay for coffee. But they said they had somewhere else to be and that they had to be on their way.

Later, Dickie and I took a walk. We went down to the creek and looked at the leaves floating in the water. It was late November and cold and starting to rain a little. The raindrops mottled the water quietly and we just stood there and watched our breath form little clouds of fog in the air.

I said to him, “Dickie, things don’t always turn out like you want them to. That’s just how life goes. But you always gotta believe that tomorrow is going to be better than today. That’s all we got and, goddamnit, that’s all we deserve.”

After I’d said my piece, we turned around and walked up the hill towards the house. I said that maybe we’d cook up some steaks for dinner and he said that he’d be alright with that.

[Ed. Note: A similar version of this story appeared on the Wolverine Liberation Army]