Storyglossia Issue 30, October 2008.

Evening Collapsed Purple

by C. Robin Madigan


Porch with Chrissy


Cax and Sally, they's always on the corner

Cax, she's about my height maybe prettier

Sally looks like Fonda's boy

No. Anyway, they's the first ones come to mind

And maybe check Jackie's place 'cause she ain't straight

Just ain't

We got a lot of cats, is why it's all like this

I put'em downstairs after you said you'd come

Yeah, Cax, well she ain't gonna tell truths, but she's smarter than hell

Mark, he's his closest bud, probably gay

Maybe on Ninth street at the court where he does lay-ups and free-throws that sorta thing and he's got about a ton of antiques 'cause his daddy got runned down behind the mine there, and Mark got most of it left him and sold some of it and that he lives on now

Yeah, he don't work, just shoots on the court



Courts with Mark and Lionell Epps


Fifteen years ago, maybe

She's a great girl, but a little too much, and then she dated Joe

I heard it

Like an engine without the muffler, but a big chain wrapped around it too and maybe some kinda chain hangin' off the back, like a

Yeah, maybe that too, but kinda low—like a train

Well he built one a year ago, but he blew it up usin' nitro and stuff

Yeah, I heard about it

I ain't never been up there, you Lionell?

Turkeys up'n there, but I ain't never been to his home none, and he often comes to the bar but don't speak, just orders a fish battered sandwich and a Schlitz with a Makers starter

Lionell owns Epps's

He look daft to you?

Just lettin' him know


Wears that thing all year round

Don't sweat none anymore


Lynn at Roxie's


You know, our boys, you know they're just so damn creative

He built it himself and no one really even taught him

Mark neither, just sold to Sotheby's, and we hadn't even heard the place

Made a great sum, and he gave a third to the church, good man he is

And we told him, back then, since he wasn't going to work for money, he could volunteer in the kitchen and converse with the Vets, but he wasn't having it because

Lionell won't go near the kitchen, and those boys don't go to Epps's

Well, here, and Suzy's, called Old Draught One—it's by the road to the mine on the river

Just follow out to route eighty and you'll see the sign, it's just a picket sign, but it's a sign alright

Ice Cream, our biggest seller

Kids, you know, after school and church


St. Augustine with Janet


Well, it's certainly a pleasure to meet you—I heard you were on your way from Chrissy

Said you're the nosey type

Well you is, ain't you

I been here thirty-five years to the month and I haven't found a man yet to replace Jesus

You laugh, I'm serious, handsome

Sure, I heard, but I don't want to really talk about it

He's no good

She ain't neither


Jackie's House


A spigot runs, a large basin spills to geese and their goslings bathe.


The fuck you want

Is that any of your goddamn business?


Didn't wanna see Mark

Goddamn you been around, huh

Bet you think I'm a whore

Turn off the damn spigot (a toddler girl runs from screened porch, smiles me while she kills the spigot, comes to Jackie and hides a leg)

She's his, they know it

He owed me money, and a goddamn husband

You want a beer or somethin'?

Come on in

Don't touch that, it's not grounded

Yeah, I read them at night

My momma had a subscription all through the seventies

I read it to her when she can't sleep, most nights

Susy, turn the damn thing off

Anyway, should've stopped it with that first one

Exhaust shot the blades too hot and burned it all up but it was a drone anyway, so it wasn't none too dangerous, but we all heard the bang

Nighttime, always, so he could see flame come off the thing, but with that second one, well he got it all fix'd to take a passenger, and Mark saw it and told me but he didn't care none, just let him do it—Fucking Mark


Walk Lionell Epps to Old Draught One


Because around here you don't do that

Why we ain't got a local newspaper

Same reason

People get news from wives and ain't nothin' new about it (Lionell's son walks before us thirty feet off, shoulders narrowed and scoliosis bends him down, not a word)

Just the same old shit

Someone raped the girl just from Florida; Someone spiked Mary's drink, which is always bullshit, anything with Mary; Someone bought a foreign car, big thing, and they're liberal; Someone—and it's all like that

Probably put up a sign, somethin'

I'll leave you here, kid, enjoy your beer and when you want a good sandwich



Old Draught One


A good boy



He is, was

And we know'd he'd done it when he blew up that first one and kept buildin's others


He did


Coulda sworn I seen you before

Right—Jackie's got a girl

She is his daughter, that much I do know

Ha, boy


Is it?


Take it down, you'll be fine

Sure, last year Thomas ordered three of them for the corners, all except the one with the Turkey beards

Fuck me, livens the place up, what'd you just want the damn clack of billiard balls?

Love my golf on the TV




Cax, Sally


Where you from?

That's far

You visitin' family

Writer, balls, what've you written?

He ain't written nothin', Cax

I ain't doin' that, ain't you got nothin' in the store?

Well, what good're you, then?


He's a man

He's twenty-five


And he built 'em since he got out of middle school


He is that

I dated him when we were in the last few weeks of high school

And he raped you

And he Did

And she got preggers

And I did Not

It's what John says

John can fuck hisselfv


Mark at Joe's



I went and put a bunch of flowers and my Aunt fainted, I got that kinda family

Helped him build the first one

No seat, just a drone, he called it

About three-fifty, tops, but boy when it blew up, like I told you yesterday, jesus, sky high

Angle, the propeller

On the river they got a propeller plant

Wouldn't known it 'less you was from here, guess

Wood, ply

A beautiful fan of plys glued up and pretty

Second one's what killed him

Right in the neck

Did a good job, open casket, 'n all, but damn hell of a mark, and his arm's pretty well tored off

He taught me a lot growin' up

Five years

Yeah, two of my pals in a few years, rough

Just his heart, Dad took nitro-glycerin for his heart and Joe used nitro in his engines

Loud as hell

No one told you about that? No one said how it worked?

He mounted them on the railroad tracks that stop dead on a hill in the field, but he build the water pit there, how the breaks'd work

Fifty feet up, maybe a hundred out, the water, just insane the energy behind those things


A dirt road to Joe's barn and tracks gleam a mile out to crabgrass fields, dead trees every so often. Grass and dirt flattens, crisscross tracks emergency vehicles left. A piece of metal black soot covers.

Tracks fade to oil filled pond, a disc of silver on red dust field.

Copyright©2008 C. Robin Madigan

C. Robin Madigan has new poems and prose current or forthcoming in Smokelong Quarterly, The New York Tyrant, Lamination Colony, No Posit, and Cutthroat, a journal of the arts published chapter the first of a novel as a finalist for the Rick Demarinis prose contest. His work also previously appeared in issues 20 and 25 of STORYGLOSSIA. He received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and works with his brother Brian Charles Madigan on an album of songs. His eldest brother Eamon Gerald Madigan illustrates a collection of Conor's Miniatures titled, Bdlm Rdlm.