The Old Country
Another inside day said mommy so she got the Stoli out and we watched the rain fill the old tin bucket above the old tin well that went down how deep we didn’t really know and Suzie asked mommy how far down do you think you can go and mommy said silly that’s what the vodka is for so it looked like mommy was going to go all Dostoyevskian on us until something burned on the stove and gracious was daddy mad.
Daddy wanted to have an important talk with me and he had brought a world atlas opened to Southern Europe so he could show me how Italy was gestating inside of the Mediterranean Sea do you know how Italy got there he asked and we both shouted Germany at the same time and laughed and then I said well it certainly wasn’t Monaco and daddy said no seriously Suzie’s preggers.
Daddy’s boss came to dinner and Mommy made Vienna sausage because she said daddy’s boss had a big mustache that made him look like a Hapsburg Emperor and daddy’s boss said he got that all the time and he didn’t think it was so funny people on the highway blasting Strauss waltzes at him from their car radios probably Turks he said because their mustaches were black also so how’s Suzie and I think daddy was jealous because he didn’t know the waltz just the polka.
Daddy loved Christmas he said it made him feel so English singing carols with his face blackened with soot while he played with the Christmas train that ran in a circle around the base of the Christmas tree although mommy asked what’s a train got to do with Christmas for Christ sake but Suzie who had just gotten home from the hospital said it’s taking baby Jesus away to heaven.
We drove to the Grand Canyon where we listened to a Ranger who told us that the indigenous people were very spiritual and hunted buffalo and left sand paintings at their sacred places and mommy asked can we see the indigenous people and the Ranger said no they were wiped out and I said can we see the buffalo and the Ranger said no they were wiped out too and daddy said can we see the sand paintings at the sacred places and the Ranger said “Akóó níláahdi naníchʼį́įdii” and daddy said oh you must be French but Suzie just slept in the car.
We ate dinner at a Taco Bell on the Pacific Coast Highway and Suzie started waving and she said I can wave to people across the sea in China and I can see them waving back so daddy said don’t be silly you have to dig a hole to see China and Suzie said no I see Guanyin the goddess of mercy who is reaching out to me with a thousand arms and I said sure and ordered a taco with “carne” because that means meat in Mexican.
Chris Bullard is a native of Jacksonville, FL. He lives in Collingswood, NJ. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Kattywompus Press published his third chapbook, Dear Leatherface, in January of 2014. WordTech Editions published his second full-length book, Grand Canyon, in 2015. His work has appeared in Rattle, River Styx, Pleiades, Green Mountains Review and other literary reviews.