I’m playing along with Teaser Tuesday this week, so here’s a little excerpt from Ugly and the Beast. A rare moment in which Axyl restrains himself.
“Oh, things is bad here, too. The water coming out that tap right there, it don’t be fit to drink half the time,” Aquena said.
“It’s all them chemicals,” I said. “You got any idea how much pesticides and fertilizers farmers put on crops? When I was a kid, we had a whole goddamn barn full of them chemical drums, and we’d spray it on like you wouldn’t believe. Then every time it rains, that shit runs right down into the aquifer. That’s what’s in your water.”
The kid leaned over to Mervin and whispered something. Mervin smiled and said, “That just the way he talk, little man.” Seeing that I’d caught him, he said, “He think it funny you talk whiter than his daddy. You know, cuz yew tawk lack uh cowboy.”
“How come that’s funny, kid?”
“You not a real cowboy,” Wynton said.
“How do you figure? I can ride a horse and rope a steer. Can you?”
“Well, I guess that makes me a real cowboy, don’t it?”
“But you sound funny.”
“You know what, Wynton?” I put down the rib I’d been gnawing on and wiped my hands off. “I killed guys for less than that.”
Mervin, Wynton, and Aquena laughed, but Smiley didn’t. Neither did I.
“Really?” Wynton said, his big brown eyes going back and forth between me and Smiley.
Still laughing, Aquena swatted my arm and said, “Don’t you scare my baby.”
“I’m just shitting you, kid. I never killed nobody for making fun of how I talk. Thought about it a time or two, but I’ma give you a pass, seeing as how you ain’t even outta grade school yet.”
I laughed and everybody else did, too. Except Smiley. He knew me. Maybe I never killed folks over that, but I sent a few guys to the hospital and the dentist.