Another story from my Memorial Day Weekend Challenge! I asked you to RT PTKY or share it on Facebook, and in exchange I'd write a story on whatever you wanted. My friend Valya Lupescu (a VERY talented author) gave me the most specific request: "Son of Southern IL farmer who had a traumatic experience with a scarecrow, developed corn/corn product phobia, & moved to Chicago." Here's my take on it:
a lot better in the city, especially on days like today, when the sun shines so
hot and bright on the brick buildings that I just want to lick them. Chicago is
so comforting, so solid, so free of organic material. I’m fine as long as I don’t
go in the produce section of the grocery store. It’s not safe there.
I was six, my parents let me spend the summer on my grandpa’s farm outside
Pittsfield. I was so excited to play with all the animals; my cousin Ronnie
promised he’d even teach me to ride a horse. It was the happiest I’d ever been
in my short life—until the fourth week I was there.
night, Grandpa Steve and I walked to the middle of the cornfield to fix the
scarecrow, who had fallen off its perch. As he shoved the straw-stuffed torso
back onto its post, my grandpa grinned and asked, “Jed, you know why the
scarecrow stays here and doesn’t wander off, dontcha?” I shook my head. “’Cause
all his teeth are covered up by these here corn husks. He doesn’t want anyone
to take ‘em, least of all the crows.” His phlegmy laughter gargled in his
throat. I turned and ran back to the house as fast as I could. That very
evening I called my parents and begged to come home.
that day on, I couldn’t eat corn. I couldn’t even go near it. All I saw were
rows and rows of yellow teeth—then the scarecrow’s jagged slash of a mouth,
with its flapping, ragged burlap edges.
always tried to stay in the most populated parts of my town. Whenever we had to
drive past a cornfield, I’d close my eyes and hold my breath, the way other
kids treat a graveyard. I never saw Grandpa Steve again before he died. It was
hard for him to visit us, and I refused to return to the farm, much to my
came to Chicago for college, and this is where I stayed. I studied business,
since I knew it could get me a job high up in the steel skyscrapers, far above
the soil and the things that grow there. It’s not the easiest way to live—corn’s
in everything. I spend a lot of my
time at Whole Foods searching for natural soda and grass-fed beef. And I’ve had
to become an awfully creative chef. On the other hand, that at least impresses
considered therapy, but I just don’t think I can face it. I never want to be
that six-year-old boy again, staring into the blackness of a dead, gaping
mouth. I never want to butter up those teeth and tear them from the cob, the
stringy bits clinging to the roof of my mouth.
Hope you like it, Valya!
Everyone, I'm going to have to ask a favor of you. My super-talented friend Leta made a t-shirt design for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science 2012 Sci-Fi Film Series contest, and she's one of the finalists. In order to vote for her design, all you have to do is like and/or comment on the picture on Facebook. Would you mind helping out? After all, you like things on Facebook every day. Why not like something that's truly fantastic?!