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table of contents — stories


The door of the huge stainless steel freezer cracked open just a bit. So I could see the thing lying there on the floor, under the light, a fair-sized thing, a leg of lamb one might guess, wrapped in white paper, with a bit of water pooled under it. It must have been there for awhile. In the ugly, bare kitchen. Yellow walls.

The freezer door must have come open as the house leaned and the floor sagged, and the thing fell out. The freezer was still running, though. For a while.

Outside the rain raged, or whatever it was. The light flickered a little.

'Why doesn't someone come and pick it up?' A voice, a thought, back in the darkness.

No one's going to pick anything up, I thought. No one's going to go out there. It's going to sit there and melt, and we're going to watch it. And then it will rot. Summer will come with the flies.

I thought about walking through the house. As someone might have, once. Would Old Dodie be there? Of course not. She cleared out long ago. Out the door. Through the window. Up the chimney. Where is she now? Who knows?

It was Old Dodie's job to pick up a melting thing on the floor, and she's long gone. Damned if it's up to me.

Old Dodie got rid of the others. Out the door. Through the window. Up the chimeny.

Outside the rain raged some more, and the light flickered. There were more wrapped packages back there, getting ready to slide and fall out. I thought the floor leaned a little more. That old rain, or whatever it was, was beating on the house, beating like hell.

I heard something crash. Crash methodically. A plate, very deliberately thrown. But, no, it was just the old house, carefully leaning away from the rage, dropping a plate from a shelf. Lightening the burden.

No concern of mine. I'll never eat from that plate.

I could just hear them whimpering back there in the darkness. 'Where's Old Dodie? What's going to happen to us?'

I'll tell you what. The house will lean, the floor will sag, and we'll be out on the floor, things with the thing.

And then the light will run out and the freezer will stop.

And summer will come with the flies. We'll fly with the flies. Out the door, through the window, up the chimney. And don't cry about Old Dodie. She put you there. And there you'll stay, until it's time for you to go.