Luray Flying thinks that cumbersome stands out like that booger on Mrs. Challenger’s nose, dangling there, reluctant to join the murmuring mass of words posted on Challenger’s industrial strength file cabinet. Luray says, “Hey Mrs. Challenger? You print them words on magnetic paper so they won’t stray like Mr. Hurley’s dog?” She knows Mrs. Challenger will appreciate the simile.
Mrs. Challenger cups the backside of her palm around her mouth and sardonically says, “If he wouldn’t pelt it, it wouldn’t stray.” She points to the word pelt, and they know she’s looking for more similes.
Smoothly and slowly, Lester Jones says, “Just like smoke rises steady until sister wind pelts it,” he closes his eyes and sways, “people release dense messages of smoke,” he adds a metaphor, “that float in pelts against the gloaming’s fading sky.”
Lester entrances the girls, and makes Mrs. Challenger smile.
“You have the heart of a poet, Lester. Similes rise like smoke through your words.”
“How about cumbersome?,” Luray asks, pointing to the word hanging on Challenger’s file cabinet like that booger on her nose, “Can you use that word, Lester?” Luray pauses, then swoons, “It’s like a cement block chained to my slender ankles,” she sways her foot in the aisle, then drops it hard, ” . . . cumbersome.”
Lester thinks through his senses, then answers, “The thought of a loser like Hurley pelting a creature like that sly brown dog, weighed cumbersome on the boy’s heart. So he took that dog home with him and fed it good, right after using three feet of chain to collar Hurley up to a tree, where he made him get on his hands and knees and kicked him three or four times in the belly and hindquarters till he yelped like the wretched cur that he is.” Lester holds up his hand, closes his eyes, and shakes his head. Deliberately.
Two weeks later
Lester Jones didn’t do it, he was on the class picnic when Hurley was nabbed, but Lester did give Ted Drummond a map for the deed.
The caption under Hurley’s picture in the News Argus read, “Richard Hurley was found chained to a tree north of town, where he was kicked like a dog and left for dead. Authorities found him after two days with no food or water, and are looking for a masked man with a rifle.”
Hurley’s dog disappeared, and few people know that it is forever eating Alpo on the Drummond family farm out by Utica. And our class? We never speak of it. Not one word. Not one.
Luray Flying thinks Lester Jones is a prophet.
Brenda Warren 2012
Visit The Sunday Whirl.