#47 You Were Never Lovelier

by Jasmine M. Templet

There are fifteen teeth on the comb in Daniel’s hand. He doesn’t count the missing tooth near the middle. You don’t count the broken parts.

His father stands outside the bathroom door, tapping his foot to the dripping of the faucet. His arms are loaded with tackle and fishing rods. He holds a plastic cup full of pink worms all writhing on top of each other. Daniel has counted the worms already. There are eighty nine of them.

His father doesn’t know why he counts or why he screams when there are an uneven number of peas on his plate. He only knows that something is broken.

Daniel combs his hair over his ears, counting the strokes in his head. His father bangs on the door, cursing as he drops the container full of worms. Some drift through the cracks in the floor but most are scooped up into his rough hands.

“Daniel! Come out here and help me!”

Daniel gets on his hands and knees, folding the retreating worms into his hands. Some make it back into the cup, most go into the pockets of his overalls.

He pictures them pink and white, struggling on the steel hooks. His father says the fish won’t bite unless they’re still alive. When they walk out to the yard Daniel drops like worms like confetti onto the green grass while his father loads his pickup.

The worms squirm back into the earth. Back where they came from.


Unknown said...

Lovely voice.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Daniel would be able to drop the worms 'like confetti', that would be too untidy and probably broken. But that's me being picky, this was a well illustrated vignette.

JRVogt said...

"You don’t count the broken parts." Strong line. Sums up the piece well.

Irena Pasvinter said...

I thought this was a very well written piece -- it had an integrity to it, the consistent view of the world through Daniel's eyes.
Funny how a typo always finds its way even into a perfectly written story:
"Daniel drops like worms like confetti".