#30 Visitation Rights

By Dino Parenti

On the weekends I was allowed to be with him, Pop and I would shoot guns.

He’d pick me up from Mama’s early Saturday while she slept, always waiting in his truck down the street and staring down the sun while gnashing on a spicebush twig. We’d have hot biscuits, then drive an hour to all the repo-houses near the levies were we’d bleed the day unloading buckshot and thirty-ought slugs into boarded-up domiciles. The reports exploded the abandoned silence, flushing out eddies of grackles and terns, and as my ears screamed, the wail of shattering wood and glass never failed to drive air into Pop’s shoulders while seeping it from the veins that had come to grip his neck.

Pop never talked while we shot. In fact we hardly spoke but a few words on Saturdays; that’s what Sundays were for. I guess he still smarted over losing the house, but at night when he would whistle at the moon and pull from a battered flask, I'd see the glint in his eyes splinter into a dozen glints, all flashing the warmer hues of the spectrum.

We’d end our Saturdays by shooting up the old Victorian by the place where the ladies danced wearing only what looked to me then as party favors. Afterwards, our loads spent, Pop would stare at the juke-joint for a long while before calling it a night. Sometimes he’d mutter Mama’s name. Sometimes, he’d just whistle at the neon rippling in the puddles.

21 comments:

amessoffeathers said...

Once again, your sense of time and place is brilliant, Dino. You really have a gift for conveying nostalgia. "Gnashing on a spicebush twig" was enough for me to see Pop perfectly in my head.

Lee Wright said...

Excellent story. I got total immersion with this one. Beautiful.

Janna Qualman said...

A lovely piece. I enjoyed reading this one.

Bruce Roush said...

Wonderfully descriptive. Could hardly read it fast enough.

Anjali said...

Great story. What a wonderful interpretation of the photograph!

Sam Knight said...

Wonderful descriptions. You pulled me right into the settings with you.

Jade said...

Lovely language and such yummy detail. I especially like the resonance with the moon and the neon lights and Pop's glinting eyes.

defensive driving texas said...

You manage to paint your story with such descriptive words. Everything is so nostalgic and melancholy. A great read too.

Dino Parenti said...

Thank you all for your positive comments thus far!

Flutterby said...

Beautiful writing.

Jonathan Riley said...

The admiration of the father by the boy is perfect. The way boys always think there father is a superhero even those with less than perfect behaviour. Always staring at the father being able to describe him with pin-point accuracy. I especially love the veins gripping the neck and the glint splintering in his eyes "the warmer hues of the spectrum," not only sounds beautiful but really put into perspective just how much the boy appreciated their time together. Great work Dino.

King Family said...

Congratulations on winning!!!!!

Dino Parenti said...

Much appreciated, Kings:)

John C. Mannone said...

Congratulations, Dino. Some very fine writing. I'd be willing to bet that you are a poet, too. If not, the influence is there; it renders the writing strong.

Jacqueline Levesque said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. Great use of descriptive words, really pulled me into the story!

Catvibe said...

Dino, I wrote a comment very soon after the announcements came out, but I see it was eaten, as blogger often does. I just wanted to gush about the brilliance of this story! I loved seeing my image in Pop's eyes. Your imagery here is wonderful and I was transported into this world. Thank you!

Heidi said...

This piece is a pleasure to read. Congrats on a well-deserved win!

Raoul "LEE" Derit said...

I find the unpacking of the emotion of the characters in your story very subtle; you deftly informed us without telling it. To me, this is a hallmark of a very good writer.

Congratulations on your well-deserved win...

Raoul "LEE" Derit said...

I find the unpacking of the emotion of the characters in your story very subtle; you deftly informed us without telling it. To me, this is a hallmark of a very good writer.

Congratulations on your well-deserved win...

Dino Parenti said...

To encompass everyone from John C. Mannone down, thank you so much for your words. All of your works inspire me.

SzélsőFa said...

congratulations. there are so much behind the words to explore, you used the limited space so well.
i too, think that this piece has a touch of poetry in there.