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Mini Sledgehammer October 2014: “Uncles and Buicks”

Thank you to Daniel and John, who continue to host the Portland Mini Sledgehammers at Blackbird Wine. This month’s winner was Kris Lovesey–congratulations!

Prompts:
Character: The recently departed
Action: Riding Bikes
Setting: By the train tracks
Prop: Pillow case

***

Uncles and Buicks

By Kris Lovesey Kris Lovesey smile shot

Biking across Jacksonville is a great excuse to look like shit.  Shirt starched with sweat.  I look like shit- I smell like a rainbow of balls feet, farts and pits—And I feel great.

If I rode in the beautifully temp. regulated car with my parents I would smell like coffee and stress but I would much rather smell like shit- and acrid eye burning garlic asparagus piss.

It suits me.  It’s my cologne.  My toilet water.  Drier sheets- moth balls.

My uncle was a weird one.  I remember snippets of him laced through my childhood.  He was/is much older than my dad.  He joined the Airforce- got out and flew for Arab families who bought him Rolexes.  He had scattered divorces and kids who don’t speak with the rest of the family.

I remember the gun in his bedside table drawer in Sarasota.  In St. Augustine we visited him in a house trailer.  My brother and I were coaxed outside to collect pine cones.  We were promised a quarter each.

My aunt told me, she was drunk on vodka, he would drown cat babies instead of spaying them.
We were on our way to Sam’s Club.  She pointed to a railway bridge and said he would take the whole litter stuffed in a Goodwill Pillow case- a couple of zip ties, a brick and- out the Buick window.

Our family moved around and these sporadic encounters with family formed all my impressions of the South.

I arrive at church late.  The preacher is going on and on about:  Our Recently Departed.

My uncle Bobby.  They guy lived more in my dreams than in my life… but he’s family and that’s how  my family functions.

-seperate
-Christmas Cards
-Birthday Phone Calls
-The Thanks Giving tradition of fruit cake making- that only lasted for three years.

I was so proud of myself for knowing pine cones were not in fact alligator eggs.  But Hey-
What the fuck did a California boy know about alligators.
They live in Florida- it takes a 45 shot in a quarter sized spot behind their skull to kill one.
You have to pick up their eggs and burn them before they hatch.
You have to kill the kittens.

We are in the dirty South.
This is where I’m from.

This is what I keep on leaving behind me like a dead uncle Bobby.

© 2014 Kris Lovesey

***

Born to a father from South Carolina and a mother from a dairy farm in England.  Growing up around the nicest people and being spoiled on the world’s best chocolates and sweets did as much for Kris’s deep optimism as growing up in divided Germany helped to form a quirky outlook on life.  Kris’s story begins as an American Air force brat surrounded by giant military trucks and transporters, fleets of F-16s and other jets, and the calm German village.

After moving around a lot and finishing an arts degree at Bowling Green State University Kris continued moving with stays in: New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, as well as Southern California, Florida, and the Pacific North West.  Portland is where this author currently resides  while writing fiction and non-fiction.  Kris floats between cultures, countries, and scattered friends and family- seemingly sucking nectar to feed and indulge the curiosity driving this boheme-cosmopolitan.

Lightheartedness is seen in everything Kris.  The fictional stories weave our world with colorful threads- beautiful and crass.  Narratives drag us all the places one never knows to look for on a map or in our imaginations.  The characters will remind you of fantastic qualities of man which surround us.  Non-fiction works by Kris are brash “how to” get what you want out of life guides.  These deal with traveling and living abroad and the advantages and hurdles.  The life experiences salt and pepper and offer a new pair of glasses to view the world.

Kris draws literary inspiration from the wonderful worlds of Roald Dahl and Haruki Murakami, and peacefulness/spiritual tones of Hermann Hesse and Patrick Suskind.  This makes a down to earth and honest author who is a pleasure to read.  Pick up Kris’s books right now and meet the characters and real life people to lighten up your day.

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