Future Farmers of America
by Scott Miles
Just yesterday, before she went out into what looked like sure rain, he handed his wife an umbrella and said: "Better safe than sorry." She said: "No one's safe until they're dead." She then drove to town, had her nails and hair done, slept in an electric bed, baked like a potato.
"Cluck cluck," go the pissy chickens, always skittering in the barn. He'll soon toss them a scoop of organic feed with a mixture of vigilant mouse droppings, gather the warm eggs. But first, he buttons his overalls, watches the dawn swelling outside, hopes yesterday's rain hasn't damaged the onions left drying in the field.
"Farming?" she'd asked at the high-school prom. The girl was a brute, the only one who agreed to go with him. "It's the only thing I know how to do," he told her.
Now, she's in the kitchen, clanking pots and skillets. He looks out the window, sees the backlash from the river, spitting froth and pure fallacy. He's a big lummox, unrefined and still possibly in love.
On their honeymoon, he took his new wife to the tourist joints in Brazil, hobnobbed with the other American ogres. Brazil is a place where unrequited love affairs with the transsexual whores are healthier than the tap water.
He'd seen it before, on the Internet sites. Stealing women from Argentina, raising them in Chicago to turn tricks. The other Brazilians stay home, deal with the angry, oscillating government, fires, riots, futbol, exporting their coffee.
After the honeymoon, they returned home. They had simple things in America: massacres at recess, wayward joyrides through suburbia, an excess of alcohol, game shows, Jimmy Earl Ray Day instead of MLK.
Ergo, hillbilly life. Home, a place where his wife would rot and roost, do nothing but eat scrambled eggs and drink health shakes in the morning, stare at the deformed sculptures of meat in the ice box, pulpy bacon, ham hocks mooning her.
"I can't get used to the fact that my husband kills animals for a living," she'd say while doping-up in the morning, a habit she'd found in Brazil. She'd cackle, egg sandwich half-eaten, dreaming of another husband.
"We need to eat," he'd tell her.
The sofa would then swallow her up, her cigarette fumes mitigating the dance of the lonely. Hopefully, he thought, the house will burn down when she falls asleep. He could watch the fire from the cornfield. Good corn doesn't come until August.
Instead, a child was born, named him Jr. He checked into the 30th percentile, not smart enough for the middle class, and not dumb enough to throw into the dumpster at the local mini-mart. Eventually, the child rode a different bus to school, took speech classes, and wanted to farm like his father. It was the only thing he knew how to do.
About the author:
Scott Miles is currently seeking his MFA at Columbia College Chicago. He has published stories in The 2nd Hand, The Fiction Warehouse and The 2005 Columbia College Story Week Anthology of New Writing. He is also the Editor in Chief of the soon-to-be dead Trading Punches with Grandma. Visit your Grandma while she's still alive.