Getting the Hard-to-Reach Places by Craig J. Clark

My entire family’s messed up. I’m probably the least messed up out of all of us, but I’m also the youngest. I’m sure this stuff builds up over time, like plaque. The difference is you can brush teeth. Minds are a lot harder to clean efficiently, especially in those hard-to-reach places.

If one were to classify my family’s abnormalities dentally, then Mom has severe gingivitis, Charles has some impacted molars, Henry has bleeding gums from brushing too much and I have a mild build-up of tartar. I didn’t know my Dad too well, so I guess he could have flossed more. We all should.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be a dentist when I grow up. In fact, I don’t want to be anything when I grow up. I’ll let my brothers run the family company and I’ll do whatever I feel like. For instance, a couple weeks ago, I felt like taking some matters into my own hands.

Everybody in my family has their secrets, or so they think. Mom thinks her affair with Rodrigo is a secret, but it’s not. Henry thinks his activities in the hayloft are a secret, but they’re not. I myself have quite a whopper and I know it’s safe, but I’m eager to tell it anyway. That’s why I’m talking to a dead horse. If Charles were here, he’d probably be beating you, but Charles isn’t here.

I know you’ve suffered greatly at my brother’s hands. Many times I’ve stood back and watched you take abuse the likes of which no creature should be made to bear. You kicked and struggled and cried out in pain, but that only encouraged him. Once he singled you out, I knew nothing would dissuade him.

Then Charles went away to college and things settled down. Your mysterious wounds, which Rodrigo somehow always thought were self-inflicted, healed up. He even let Mom take you out for rides again, which was when she started giving him “rides.” I guess you can’t really call it infidelity since she’s a widow, but it still bothers me. That’s why I decided to take action.

I knew Mom would never give up her horses, but I figured she would give up Rodrigo if he failed her in some fundamental way. You were her favorite horse, so it was up to you to take the fall. I had to make it look like an accident, though. I picked a Wednesday, rigged up a makeshift slingshot and, when the time came, waited in the stables.

Henry was the first to show up, as I expected. He made his way up to the hayloft and quietly disrobed. After a time, Mom and Rodrigo came in and got down to their business. He usually took her up against the stable wall, dropping his trousers and hiking up her dress. She must have liked that because she always expressed a great deal of enthusiasm.

When they were finished, he saddled you up and Mom took you out. For his part, Rodrigo stepped outside for a smoke. That’s when I heard Henry getting down to his business. He thinks no one can hear him, but he’s only fooling himself.

Soon enough, it was time to act. Mom returned to the stables, invigorated by her ride. Before she could dismount, though, I let fly with my slingshot, hitting you right in the foreleg with a very sharp rock. I don’t have to tell you what happened next. Those agonizing minutes are etched into my memory forever.

Did I do the right thing? I’d like to think so. Since your demise, Mom has barely spoken to Rodrigo, let alone allowed him to ravish her. I also noticed that Henry has ceased his self-pleasuring ways. I guess the events of that Wednesday traumatized him as well.

It’s weird, but I almost feel like you got the best deal out of this whole thing. Now you won’t have to worry about what Charles will do to you when he comes home from break. After all, how much fun can it be to torture a horse once it’s been stuffed?


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As always, I really enjoyed this piece. I really like the whole multi-POV style with each story. You must have a really dark place to go to in your head to write this stuff. Lucky for us all.

As always, thanks for your kind words. It's good to get feedback, especially since these pieces are different from anything else I've ever written. I do think this will be the last time I visit with this twisted clan, though. They have some serious issues.

This is great, Craig. Looking at the same situation from the POVs of the brothers is very telling. Younger brothers do seem to have the best deal (I'm a middle, myself). I like that this brother is talking to the dead horse. It's hard to get three characters to speak this way in a story without seeming contrived, but I think you pulled it off quite well. It feels manufactured, but in a good way; almost like a few well written soliloquies in the first act of a well-written play.

In any case, I wish I would have taken the time to read this story sooner as it is an inspiration for me to get off my butt and start writing again.

Hmmm...I'm wishing I would have checked you out thoroughly before commenting in a largely negative manor on what I realize now was merely part one of a larger story. Things are starting to make more sense now and the horror of the situation is becoming more tangible. I look forward to more.

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This page contains a single entry by published on January 12, 2006 11:27 AM.

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