Writer in Residence · 01/25/2011

Nothing Good Can Come Of This

in response to a nanofiction by Martha Williams

Pretty soon the whole room was nodding and, from then on, no one looked her in the eye. She drew landscapes borrowed from her childhood until the voices in the court receded and she was a girl on her family’s ranch outside of Buffalo, Wyoming. They were watching Lulu foaling in the dark. The mare’s breath fills up the stable. Good girl, her mother clucks with her teeth that don’t fit right. The girl is thirteen or fourteen, on some scaffolding outside the gym, dangling her legs through the slats. She’s fooling with her swollen lip, rolling the blood in her mouth. To avoid the bus, she hitches a ride home with her science teacher, who makes a pass at the railroad crossing. Her lip hurts less than she thinks. She gets a job at DJ’s Thriftway in her sophomore year. Sometimes, she babysits her co-worker’s son on Friday nights, and plays videogames with him on the computer. She gets As and Bs mostly, and thinks about going to junior college. The following winter, Lulu stops eating. The girl tries her favorites, molasses cookies and peppermint sticks, but she turns her head and lets her filly take them. She dies two weeks later. On a bright and crisp day in June, she rides the young mare through the foothills of the snow-capped Bighorns. She comes across a horseback riding guide leading a band of tourists in straw cowboy hats. They wave and one of them, a woman in a bejeweled jean jacket, takes a picture. This photo, along with her mug shot and yearbook picture, will appear on the national news, and then later, in a crime book about women who kill. But today, she’s just a girl on a horse, waving in a friendly way before heading home.

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posted by First Footing