I don’t allow contemporary literature in my home because my internet doesn’t work. I haven’t called the man to fix the internet. If the internet man showed up at my house I would feed him a lentil. I like the internet, but I’ve found that the internet never lets me be with my own brain when I am in my own home. I sometimes will meet the internet at a coffee shop or a book place and we will use each other, but most of the time I like to eat romantic novels and ask people on the bus if I can sit on their lap. Once, I met a guy with a white beard on the bus. He said I could sit on his lap. I asked him if he would tell me a story. He told me a story about how he grew up in a Spanish town that didn’t have electricity or sterile medical supplies. When he was three his younger brother cut his knee on a barbwire fence and they had to stitch him up with a fish skeleton needle and a thread of horse hair. When the guy finished his story I went home and ate some q-tips.
Krammer Abrahams was an accident. His parents were three years old when he was born. He ate their childhood. One of his parents is a BLT sandwich.
Boots Walking in America needed some new boots. He bought a pair from a man who sold new boots. Boots Walking in America asked the man who sold new boots how to break in the new boots. The boot man said, “The best way to break in a new pair of boots is to have a good woman pee in them.” Boots Walking in America didn’t know any good woman who would pee in his new boots. He asked the boot man how to tell if a woman was good. The man who sold new boots said, “If a woman pees in your new boots and the leather softens then she is probably a good woman.” Boots Walking in America nodded and went home. When he got home he left a note for his mother. It said, “I’ve gone out into the world to find a woman good enough to soften my new boot leather.” He began walking south because he had once heard a schoolmate’s father say that the best women were hung from the trees in the south. Because his new boots were too new Boots Walking in America hung them over his shoulder and walked barefoot.
Boots Walking in America walked five hundred feet before he paused to look at the soles of both his bare feet. Neither seemed in poor shape. He walked another five hundred feet. A Volkswagen van pulled over. From inside, a man looked at Boots Walking in America. The man smiled and then the van drove away. Boots Walking in America kept walking. He felt like a lonely buffalo. The Volkswagen van returned. The driver held out a jug of milk. Boots Walking in America took the jug from the man. When the van was gone Boots Walking in America poured the milk on his feet. Across the road a woman was standing in a field of mud watching Boots Walking in America. The bottom of her dress had gotten dirty. When Boots Walking in America emptied the jug he looked up and saw the woman. He wanted to ask her if she was a good woman, but he got nervous and kept walking down the road.
He came to another field. Some boys were playing football. He leaned on an oak tree and watched the boys hustle the ball from one side of the field to the other and then back again. As he watched he felt a drop of sweat leak from his hairline. He imagined it was his mother kissing him goodnight. After he left the field of boys, Boots Walking in America walked for an hour. The morning had grown into afternoon. He stopped for a sandwich. A woman stood behind a counter in front of a tray of vegetables and meats. She asked Boots Walking in America what he wanted. He looked at the new boots still hanging from his shoulder and opened his mouth, but instead of asking the woman behind the counter if she would pee in his new boots he asked her for a turkey sandwich. After she made his sandwich, a man in a shiny velvet coat walked into the shop. This man’s boots looked polished. Boots Walking in America opened his mouth and took a bite of the sandwich.
When Boots Walking in America left the sandwich shop he noticed a man in a wheelchair struggling to eat a piece of bread he had pulled out of the dumpster. Boots Walking in America went back into the sandwich shop and grabbed a bottle of mustard. He walked back out and gave it to the man in the wheelchair struggling to eat the dumpster bread. The woman behind the counter in the sandwich shop shrugged at the theft of her mustard. She went out back to get a new bottle of mustard.
Boots Walking in America continued walking south. He saw a boy with no ears looking with his right eyeball into the bottom of an empty coke bottle. When Boots Walking in America asked the boy with no ears what he was looking at the boy surprised Boots Walking in America and said he was looking for a pet cricket that had recently disappeared. Some teenagers on mopeds passed. There were three adolescents on each low-powered bike. Boots Walking in America watched these grownup children ride off into the distance. At the top of a hill he saw a girl fall off the back of one of the slower mopeds. No one came back for her. Boots Walking in America began to move towards the fallen girl to see if she needed help, but before he could get there she ran off into the woods. When Boots Walking in America reached the top of the hill he found a small red leather glove that one of the adolescents had dropped. He bent down and sniffed it. He imagined he knew what a good source of female urine smelled like, but the only thought that came to mind from sniffing the small red leather glove was the image of a cracked bar of soap at the edge of a dry streambed.
A few more hours passed. Boots Walking in America found a field and kneeled down next to this field to take a bite, but what he thought was a turnip only happened to be an old, swollen peach pit. He dug a hole in the soil with his heel and dropped the peach seed before filling in the hole.
Up the road he saw a motel. The only light left in the sky was settling on the horizon. Boots Walking in America found his way to a motel room that looked dark. He broke one of the windows out behind the motel and crawled into a room with a toilet and a bathtub. He didn’t turn on the lights in this bathroom. Instead, he lay in the bathtub and felt his bare feet. They seemed fine. He licked one of his smaller toes to see if they still tasted of milk. He thought of a trout. Boots Walking in America decided that if he found a man selling trout he would buy three trout from this man. He would eat one of the trout and then put the other two in his new boots to save for later.
by Krammer Abrahams