Four Lou Beach Stories

I

He brought her over for our approval, the woman for whom he’d left his wife, children. We met her suspended between judgment and acceptance, offered her tea. She asked for vodka. Miriam hesitated; I waited for her to say that we had none. Instead she brought out a bottle from the freezer and we proceeded to drink Russian style. The next morning when they left, Miriam and I agreed that we did not care for her, or him.

 

 


II

He is a man within a man within a man, a nesting doll of himself, each bright shell splitting to reveal another him, the halves scattered on the table of his history; some pinned by the light from the window, others obscured in shadow, a few fallen to the floor. And in the middle, where even his false humility has been stripped away, at the core where the professional probers want to poke, is a creamy caramel center.

 


III

Lynette had six rattles attached to her hatband. They were the size of those little ears of corn that come in Chinese stir fry. The snakes must have been pretty big but when I asked her she just shrugged and kept on dancing. The sound of the rattles made the dog nervous and he belly-walked to behind the couch, made funny hound sounds you could hear above Billy Ray Cyrus and the stomping of boots on the wooden floor.

 


IV

The sunlight drips from the leaves like honey and I am momentarily blinded by the gold forever. There are black horses on the ridge but the space telescopes backwards and I think they are crows. What difference does it make, horses or crows or squid? We are all released into air and water and earth, abundant as krill. We run and swim and fly because we can, because there is nothing else for it, and our bones are made for it, and our blood calls out for it, and it is a fire.

Lou Beach is many things. Author. Illustrator. L.A. resident. Read our interview with him for more. 

Photo credits: Kate Farnady, Simon Holliday

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