The Nightbird

Posted: November 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
THE NIGHTBIRD

It either goes back to the book or to when Bubba and I killed the nightbird. Don’t know which.

I got the book in a paper sack of books given me by our neighbor Lief Finney, who was going to burn them in his trash barrel. Hell, this had to be along about 1979. I took the sack from his hands, rushed to my bedroom and removed them one by one–like it was my birthday or something. I was fourteen. They were mostly old science fiction books with a few mysteries and action adventures thrown in, one or two missing their covers. Hercule Poirot on one cover smooching up to Remo Williams on the cover of the next one down. A few Ted Sturgeons and Poul Andersons thrown in for good measure. They were old, musty, their spines curled up like they’d contracted the literary version of scoliosis shortly after being printed back in the way back. Back when things were rotten. I can’t for the life of me remember the title of that last book.

‘First one in, last one out,’ that’s the rule. It’s like…physics. Mr. Finney had put the bottommost book in first, just like anybody puts anything into anything else first. Hey, it didn’t come in through the bottom somehow after all the others were neatly piled inside, this much I know. No magic tricks, no osmosis or select permeability. And maybe it was first in not to bury it beneath all the others, like somehow Poirot’s simple logic and William’s action could somehow act as a literary crucifix to the eyes on the thing. Maybe and not necessarily. Maybe not to hide it from Lief Finney’s eyes so he didn’t have to see it. I can’t see old Mr. Finney having that active of an imagination. I’d figured him more for the Hustler type, as opposed to Penthouse Letters. What makes more sense is that it was the first old book he’d reached for to rid himself of when it came time to clean up house because company was coming or something. I like to think that. Who knows. He’d reached for the one that hadn’t been read and the same one that was not going to be read. It feels a lot better to think that. Feels downright…comforting.

Nope. Can’t recall the title. All I can recall—all I’ve ever been able to see—were the eyes.

Books don’t have eyes. This one did.

————–

We’ll see where this goes. -gw

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