by Maxwell Deyo
I will show you where things make hungry sense.
Coleman and I were carrying a grand piano up seven flights of stairs. He was on the lower side because he had insisted he was the better man. I told him, The better man would not say such a thing. I told him, The better man is better only silently. He said, Then it is neither of us. It must be someone else. He was right about this. The better man had never carried a grand piano up eight flights of stairs. The better man made better money and lived on the first floor. He went on about it at dinner, the fucker.
When you were a child, you were probably told, It is in bad taste to speak ill of the dead. Surely you were told this. Surely your mother scolded you when you told her how your grandfather used to touch you under the dinner table. Good men do not say such things, she said. Well, I am not a better man and maybe I am not even good, because I told all of this to
Coleman while we were carrying the grand piano. Here is where I am in bad taste: Coleman was not a strong man. He could not grow a full beard and I suspect he was poorly endowed. This is why his head was crushed like a watermelon on the landing of the eleventh floor staircase.
Here is your sense, as promised: The crushable man being crushed. You may think nobody should ever be crushed by a grand piano, and I can appreciate your sentiment here. But Coleman was a particle-board man. I saw the way his head fractured like sugar-glass in some places, caved like paper mache in others. It was pure Darwinism, distilled and displayed on the fourteenth floor landing.
Can you feel that eating the human child that you were?
I asked the police officer this. I asked her, Does this get in deep underneath your skin? She said, It used to. She had been eaten hollow as an old oak. I think there was safety inside there. I think I could have crawled in and closed my eyes. I wanted to tell her that there is a bad man in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. If we dug him up we could bring him in together. It would be convenient. We had to take Coleman there anyway.
They carried Coleman back down the stairs like a soiled rug. One of them said, What kind of a delivery man cannot carry a grand piano up seven flights of stairs? It might have been me. But I knew what kind of man. When I eat watermelon I scrape out the insides and leave the rind. I swallow all the seeds. It makes me so strong I can carry grand pianos up sixty flights of stairs. It makes me so strong I could dig up the grave on my own, just to feel his hands again.
Maxwell Deyo lives in Jacksonville, Florida and attends the University of North Florida, where he is currently studying fiction writing and English. When he is not writing, reading, or studying, he spends his time playing chess, baking, and watching movies with his cat, Alfred.