Carl Annarummo

selection from a failed novel

We barked into our portable phones and when the phones died we barked into our hats. Behind us were the graying stormclouds that’d been hung for the evening over our town. I thought about my kids and then my wife and then the rear side windows separated into thin black plumes of glass ponytails and all I could hear were the low rumblings of thunder off in the distance. Then the rains came and when I pulled over the stray dogs that’d followed us sought shelter under the truck. I watched in the driver-side mirror the stormclouds hack apart what was left of our town, whether prayed for or ignored. I shrunk the headlights. When the rain stopped Mustache got out of the truck and walked around the front of the truck to my window and rested his elbow on the mirror. He whistled to the dogs and then motioned for me to grab his phone which had been charging off the cigarette lighter. After dialing, a woman’s voice was heard. He said that all trucks were to rendezvous at daybreak and that we were to all park our trucks in order of registration expiration. He threw up in his mouth with laughter after hanging up. The wind blew his hat over the truck and onto the barbed wire that lined the interstate. There were several tire fires off in the distance not to mention the smoldering ruins of our town. Up the road was an abandoned pharmacy with a sheltered drive-thru where we unfurled our sleeping bags and laid to rest. When Mustache fell asleep I put on my jacket and crawled under the trucks with the stray dogs. This is the life. When the winds started the smoke from a nearby tire fire in our direction, I rounded up a few of the less mangier dogs and together we sat in the truck’s cabin illuminated by a faint light with a fly trapped inside.

Thee Death Well

The town selectmen had gathered around
the well. The issue of how to bury the dead
had been debated and rightfully popularized
on local talk radio. The selectmen, nodding
and arching an eyebrow towards the well,
reached a consensus: Magic! So they set up
a doorway in the shape of a coffin lid over
the well and charged families ten dollars to
properly give their loved ones a send-off. It
took a long time to get all the dead into the
first well. I say ‘first well’ because the dead
were so numerous that a second, and later
a third well was needed. The town became
soaked with freelance burial-well operators.
This led to unfair wages, labor unrest, and
eventually, a fourth well which was larger
than the previous three wells combined.

Carl Annarummo is the editor of the Greying Ghost chapbook series. He currently lives in Salem, MA where he tends to his collection of teddy bears on a semi-regular basis.

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