Back in '37, there was nothing like an August night in south Texas for pure misery. I remember sitting on the front porch hoping the evening breeze would kick up and out blow our rusty White's Auto fan. I was fifteen that year, belly swollen with child, just sitting and rocking. I listened to the crickets and cicadas, and even the sound of my growling stomach as I waited on Virgil. He never allowed me to eat before he got home.
I'd heard some cicadas only came round every seventeen years. So I pondered where they stayed in between. Echoing across that sultry night they mimicked a thousand snakes, a hissing sound I might have dozed to if I hadn't been so hungry.
Then I heard some giggling. And shushing. Sounded like that Wilson girl from down the road. Her and Virgil? Now? While I was waiting dinner?
I got my shotgun off the wall. Rattlers grow big and sinewy in this heat.
I took care of business that night. It's all you can do when you're alone in the Texas night. And besides, a snake in the grass can be mighty dangerous to a growing child.
First published: August, 2007
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