The Paint by William C. Blome

Last year I decided it was time for my world to add pampering to its list of deadly sins, though I myself became dead-set and determined to continue pampering some part of the world—any part of the world—after first noticing in October that most non-migratory geese looked skinny and lacking in down (that, after scooping a few up, carrying them home, and tucking them in my own bed under flannel sheets and thin blankets).

Last year was also the year I acted entirely on my own and abandoned having anything more to do with Jefferson nickels—wouldn’t have ‘em in my wallet, wouldn’t drop ‘em in my pockets, wouldn’t even touch one if I could help it.

I had driven out to a small private airfield on a one-hundred-degree day in August. I had gotten out of my roadster and walked over to an aluminum plane on the tarmac. When I reached out to slouch against the hull and ponder the plane’s big, blue, silly propeller, I burnt my goddamn hand on the fiery metal. You best believe I jumped back and packed it in, so to speak, and left the airpark posthaste.

After I made a journey to Oregon sort of late in the year, I too-often found myself in long, tedious conversations with retired and broken circus folk: crippled sword-swallowers, dyslexic trapezers, clowns more rouged in their dotage than ever they had been in a haler, paler prime. It was while crossing a thoroughfare on foot in Eugene that I got doused with bright green paint by passersby in a shiny Buick; to this day, I still can’t completely get the fucking stuff off.

So, really, it’s probably the paint—more than the pampering, the fowl, the coins, the burn, or the chatter—that exerts extended impact on me now, as the New Year starts to beckon like a racetrack tout, walking toward me at an even pace and with a can’t-miss offer sounding between her or his saliva-spraying lips.

William C. Blome
William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such wondrous places as In Between Hangovers, Poetry London, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Phenomenal Literature, and The California Quarterly.

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