The Smell Outside Hints at Southern Indiana Country Air, pt.3

Two years ago I visited Southern Indiana for, what I didn’t know then, the last time. The road to my parent’s house, Tunnelton Road, seemed narrower than I remembered. It was like seeing pants that I wore as a toddler. Now that I am much larger, how did these legs fit into those?

Blind curves brought dead animals, run over by cars innocently going the speed limit. Rolling down the window would fill the car with the smell of leaves and flapping wings. Bugs in what seemed like the thousands. Birds happy and chirping their wishes for man-made food housed in miniature fake houses hung outside of windows. Indoor eyes closely watching to make sure squirrels didn’t take the food that wasn’t theirs, though it was out for the taking. How are they to know?

“Someone dumped a box of kittens at our back door a few days ago. Sam said that he was going to shoot them if they weren’t taken away.”

“You know dad wouldn’t shoot them. Remember when you found him sneaking gourmet canned food to Tiger?”

“Yeah. He was baby-talking to him. As soon as he saw me he changed his voice. ‘You pesky cat,’ he said.”

We both smiled. “So what are you going to do with the kittens?”

“I thought that we could drive them out to the Humane Society this afternoon.”


Mom had removed them from the box and let them amble about in the enclosed back porch. They tripped, meowed, and pooped in the controlled enclosure, unaware that they were nearly forgotten orphans of the world on the brink of death. My mother was their savior. Their Christ with no scars on her hands, just her abdomen from countless surgeries.

They were placed in a box and driven to the Humane Society on the other side of town. “I’ll stay in the car if you’ll go in to tell them.”

“Sure,” I said.

I opened the door and breathed in the smell of life, death, and medicine. A large man in a baseball cap was writing in a day planner. His face was shielded by the bill of his cap and I waited at the tall counter for recognition. His blue eyes met mine. Four eyes grew in recognition as we said, “Whoa, what’s up?!”

His name was Big Dave. He was a friendly, large man that witnessed my first encounter with whiskey, LSD, and cigarettes. A gentle person and an important ally if one is to make him angry. Once, I thought I had.

It was on the occasion that I had taken LSD for the first time. I locked myself in the bathroom of the mobile home that he and a friend shared. Sitting in the bathtub after someone had just showered, I watched with drug-induced intesity the falling droplets carve naked, dry highways through the mess of stationary globules. It might’ve gone on for hours or minutes. Who knows. What I do know is the shower curtain was drawn and Big Dave came in to take a shit. He didn’t know I was there, but I knew he was. I held my breath and looked in his direction through the curtain. He let his ass breathe with the full intesity of a 300 pound eighteen year old. I coughed in horror at the smell.

“What the fuck. Who’s there?”

“It’s me.”



“What are you doing?”

“Watching water.”

“Get the hell out of here.”

“Okay.” I stumbled over the shower curtain and cursed the others for not warning Big Dave about my peaceful presence.

My annoyance didn’t last long because I found a bowl of flour on the counter in the kitchen. Moving my finger slowly in and out of the ingredient, I mesmerized my mind and nerves on the feeling and MEANING of it. Big Dave finished his session and walked into the kitchen. I turned to apologize for my unwelcome intrusion. “Hey, Dave…”

“What the fuck are you doing?” His face filled with rage. Angry dad. He grabbed my collar and slammed me against the fridge. My eyes were as large as his belly as he drew inches from my face.

“Nothing. What do you mean?” My voice trembled. His hands were so large and powerful. My life was going to end in a mobile home in the woods of southern Indiana.

“Do you know what that is?”

“Yes. Flour.”

“It’s coke, you dumbass. And you’re just sticking your finger in it. JUST STICKING YOUR FINGER IN IT. You’ve ruined a $5000 batch of cocaine. Do you have $5000? I don’t! That’s why I do this! Shit, Luc. Not only am I going to kill you, but all the people that were going to buy from this are going to HUNT YOU DOWN AND BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE TO KILL YOU AGAIN. OVER AND OVER. Mike, Todd, Janice, Aunt Sally…ALL OF THEM!”

“Oh…my…god.” The word terror only scratches the surface of the feeling I had. I felt like I was on fire and freezing while underwater, unable to breathe. My chest expanded with the beating of my heart. Just give up. Die already, self.

His grimace morphed into an upturned disgust for the situation. Finally, his laugh brought everyone else’s to a loudness that sounded like screaming, happy angels. “Flour, Luc. It is flour. You were scared!” Big Dave relaxed his grip and hugged me. I was still in a state of terror. “When you take acid by yourself, you’re gonna be fucked with,” he added.


I returned to the bathtub never to be seen until six in the morning when I became mesmerized by a puddle of spit that reared up into a small, enjoyable monster on the front porch.

Now here he is. Him and his wife run the Humane Society. He shows me pictures of his children and informs me that he is still living in the trailer. Ugly kids with no future and an ugly home. His wife seems like a terrible woman and I feel bad for him. ‘So this is what happens to kind hearted people,’ I think to myself.

My mom enters. “Mom, this is Dave.”

“Hello, Dave. Can you take the kittens?”

“What kittens?”

My mom looks at me and asks, “What have you been doing all this time?”

“I know Dave from a while ago. We were just catching up.”

“We’ve got room for kittens,” Dave says, walking over to the file cabinet. He retrieves a stack of forms to fill out. “We’ve always go room for kittens.”

“What a nice man,” mom says after we dumped small, useless animals into large, powerful hands. “How do you know him?”

“We went to high school together.”

I watched the trees go by and felt terrible that all I had to give him was more work instead of $5000.

One Response to “The Smell Outside Hints at Southern Indiana Country Air, pt.3”
  1. RJ says:



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