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28 May 2014 @ 01:48 pm
LJ Idol Season Nine: "Infernal Impediments"  
Infernal Impediments
lj idol season nine | week 10 | ~1200 words
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time”


I believe my brother, Buford, is the most worthless creature ever visited upon this earth.

As boys, we got up to the usual antics. Misfortune and the swift justice of our daddy's belt should have taught us to do better, but I do not think those were lessons Buford ever learned.

He was smart enough, for all the good it did him. He had a head for numbers, and was a fine marksman with a pistol or rifle. His shooting provided enough meat to carry us through the winter. Still, Buford never had much in the way of sense.

At the age of five, he went down to the creek behind our house after supper, looking for tadpoles. He found something altogether different, which he took to be a black and white kitten in need of petting. You never heard such hollering as the racket Buford made while running back to the house—nor smelled anything quite so awful. Mama brought out soap and a bucket of water, and made him wash himself right there under the oak tree. I was conscripted to pump water to refill the bucket, and I do not lie when I say that seven buckets later, he smelled very much the same.

Buford slept out-of-doors for a week, and took his meals by the back gate. It fell to me to perform his indoor chores during that time, and you can well imagine how little I rejoiced at it.

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whipchickwhipchick on June 2nd, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
Nice voice - and really sad that Buford didn't learn anything in the Army!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 2nd, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
I sometimes think that people who lack common sense cannot really learn it. I've come across a few of them, and while their disasters become less everyday as they mature... there is still this sense of 'waiting for the other shoe to drop,' because there will be SOMETHING out there in the future that will happen and leave everyone else thinking, "NOoooooooooooooooo!"
Es'kaeska818 on June 2nd, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
There's something really real about this piece, which sounds kind of stupid now that I write it, but it's what I really like about it. As always, you have a gift with words and imagery. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 2nd, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
I like the feedback very much that it feels 'real'-- I want it to feel like a slice out of an earlier time that could very much have happened to an actual person. Especially because I wanted to experiment with the setting and narrative style here, not having done them before. :D

I do think that, no matter the time or place, Bufords will arise for someone, somwhere. You're just lucky if you're only seeing them from far away. :)
favoritebeanfavoritebean on June 2nd, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC)
While this is from another era, it reminds me so much of the stories I'd hear from my aunt and uncle. They were farmers, and boy, they'd get a kick out of this.

Great piece.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 3rd, 2014 12:45 am (UTC)
My Dad's father headed an ill-fated attempt to run an aqueduct project in Arizona through a bed of shale (he was a civil engineer and did not take enough soil samples). The guy on the construction crew in charge of busting up the rock tired out his horses, and promised to bring a new team the next day. He brought milk cows. Not oxen, but milk cows!

As you can imagine, those poor animals had no idea what they were supposed to be doing, and never having been yoked up in their lives.

But what a story for the ages!