The roof was a chaotic patchwork of communication relays, dishes, wires and other antennae. Once a week they’d see him up there stringing together something new while loudly singing Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces”.
At the cusp of the wharf, the widow MacKenzie threw him half a pack of cigarettes, and swore at him with eloquence created by decades of unrequited passion.
He raised his hand across the domain–his perhaps, in imagination, as a usurper of local custom and hauls of fish. He chewed tobacco and spat it into the streets.
One day several ships appeared, anchored off the rough, remote coast. At night, from shore, their lights were seen flickering and the sounds of an orchestra could be faintly heard.
The hour is nigh, they told him. Nigh, he thought. Pie, cry, sigh, bye, nigh. They were pretty dramatic about it.
Awards were handed out from the back of the shop. Winners were instructed to stand still against a lime green backdrop while the ragged, drunken owner took Polaroids.
“Night comes late on the island,” she said, handing him a gray pint of something, “not because of the latitude, but because we will it to be so.”
They watched the filmstrip mutely, lulled into strange, lazy eroticism by the gentle repetitive bing.
When the leather-scrap man came around the children and the dog hid under the old shed in the cool dirt.
Sheering happened once a season, and the entire town came to watch. Afterwards the old men were brought back to their tree houses in a cart drawn by goats.
Whenever the church bells in town chimed he would begin a long, violent tirade of swearing. He stopped when the bells stopped, he claimed to remember nothing.
On the island, after the war, they set about creating a new society. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be fair. Almost fair. Fair for some. They’d work it out as they went along.
At the expense of the town’s new mayor each citizen was provided with a wooden spoon and a healthy pullet. Critics claimed the campaign also promised a fly swatter.
Dirt was swept from the corners three times a day and put into small glassine envelopes for regular patrons. These were flaunted at social events.
The wind was howling, shaking the house, reminding him that we are weak and temporary.