Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 49

The boy clicks his tongue and Grumps feels the soft push of a fingertip against his back. ‘Okay Grumps, move along,’ says Cowboy.

Grumps and Cowboy move into the kitchen. Impatient, the boy shoots up the green topped card table and the leaf-shaped candy dish that holds a silver bullet. He points at the lone dangling light bulb, bam, bam, bam. Grumps puts his hand out. He leans heavily as a faded waterline guides him down the hallway. His fingertips trace every memory. Here’s the mirror where his mother touched up her lips . . . here’s where the bat swung through, and here, five small dips the size of his father’s knuckles.

Cowboy knows a lot about Grumps. That he’s lived here forever. That he pushes

a metal cart down Lake Street, past car dealerships and dollar stores and pawn shops to Cub Foods. He knows that black men with shiny gold teeth hang out in front of Dr. Will’s Goldfronts and make fun of Grumps’ skinny white ankles when he shuffles by. What Cowboy doesn’t know is that the bungalow he pretends to shoot up is a century old, that the armchair in the corner still has grease stains and reeks of the railroad Grumps’ old man worked for, and that the fanned chairs and matching sofa have the iron smell of streetcars embedded in their yellow, knobby cushions.

He also doesn’t know that every morning for decades the old console TV has blared The Price is Right and that, without leaving his recliner, Grumps has won a whole living room twice, vacations to the Bahamas and the Catalina Islands, three new wardrobes, and five boats.

They reach the back room. The old man fumbles with the button