5/5/11

Callie Collins



Danny

Danny is on a boat and he is moving out! Picture all the boats you’ve ever seen. The boat isn’t like any of those boats. The boat is a whaling boat, but it’s too small to be a whaling boat, Danny’s sure. The boat is very, very small but Danny is big, and while it cuts through the water away from the shore, he thinks of a cartoon rhinocerous skating on two turtles tied together. He thinks of a child giving a piggy-back ride, his legs, the child’s legs, joints locking, bones stressed to the point of breaking, and then breaking—snapping, quick sounds like Danny’s teeth chattering in the cold. Danny likes the cold and he smiles when he thinks of skinny bones and snaps his fingers, one-two-three-four.

Danny is a giant ginormous giant man on a boat and he is moving out! There are waves painted on the inside of the sloping sides of the boat edges, all around, and Danny laughs at first. But he realizes while he’s thinking that he could pretty quickly lose track of what is the boat and what is the water outside the boat and what is him. And then he is thinking about the motion, the back and forth of it, and Danny is unspooling right there on the boat. Danny is watching Danny’s thread come out of him in waves and Danny is throwing up over the side of the boat.

Danny is telling this story in terms of what Danny is thinking which is not how he has been taught to tell these stories. Danny rests. Danny finds Danny’s legs underneath him.

There are strong days, Danny thinks, but these are the weaker ones and they move slow.

Callie Collins lives in Texas where she is an Associate Editor at American Short Fiction.

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