I posted the following piece last Friday. I’m sharing it again as part of a wee test. Read the short tale; let me know what you think… The story itself is not the test. In my next post, I promise to tell you what I have been trying to figure out since I published the original entry.
“I Confess to Stealing Three Chicken Heads”
by Magaly Guerrero
The boiling water Jaime used to soften the chickens’ skins smelled like a grave of wet dogs. I watched his steam-reddened hands rip off feathers, rinse pale birds, and remove entrails. The stench birthed shallow breaths and bile out of my gut, but I didn’t let on.
“Don’t let them fall in the dirt,” he said, throwing a still full gizzard into the bucket I held in front of me. “When you’re done, set aside three heads for Marianella.”
I sliced one side of the gizzard, making sure not to damage the lining that separated undigested feed from flesh. I rinsed it out, and handed it back to Jaime to add to the rest of the giblets. Then I put three chicken heads in a plastic bag.
“Marianella didn’t come,” I said, as I washed my hands. “She must have no money again.”
“Throw them in the burning pile,” he told me.
Without saying anything, I grabbed the bag with the chicken heads and started walking towards the burning pile.
I circled the pile for a minute, poked it with a stick a time or two, and when Jaime’s eyes shifted from me, I threw the bag three feet above the flames. The heads hit the dirt with a plastic thud, and I crossed my fingers before turning around to check if Jaime had seen me.
“Come early on Sunday,” he shouted, from where he stood by the chicken table. “And tell your mom you’ve almost earned half a chicken.”
“I’ll tell her,” I said. When Jaime turned around, I collected the heads from the dirt, and took them to Marianella for her cats.
“Can you see me through the clouds and through the leaves, Niño Jesús? I’m sitting on the thick mango root that’s cracking the foundation of the house.” I looked, saw no lightning, and went on. “I took from Jaime today; three chicken heads. I’m sorry if you’re angry with me. But old cats shouldn’t go hungry because Marianella has no money to buy trash. Amén.”
Inspired by the first post I ever wrote, back in May of 2009.
“Fire”, by MagicLoveCrow