Midwife in the Tire Swing

Intermezzo 12—The Conception of Elliot Hobart (as witnessed from Heaven)

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,
match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time.

—John Burgon, Petra

From an Olympian remove a goddess and a god watched with detached interest the conception of Elliot Hobart. Lucy Hobart’s Chevy 6 heaved with a regular, unhurried motion. “Nice moves,” said the god. “But you’d think being all powerful and all we’d have a better seat. The perspective. I mean, and while we are eating. Really.” The fumes of a marijuana cigarette settled earthward toward the rollicking roadster.

Cat Armstrong sighed hoarsely. Between her thighs a sweaty glans clitoridis plunged and wobbled, thrusting upward. Cat screamed. Above her Lucy let out a mighty groan, and let fly an ejaculation worthy of the notice of the gods. The gods noticed. “Too soon, too soon,” gasped the woman beneath Lucy, no longer Cat but Eve the Eternal.

“Right on time, I’d say,” said the goddess. “For my leg has gone to sleep. How lovely—these must be the ‘multiple orgasms’ the women’s magazines are constantly harping about. Loud, aren’t they?” She poked at her gracilis muscle and winced. “I have a cramp. You will pardon me?” From a golden platter the goddess popped a tidbit into her mouth and flagged down an idle angel. “These grape leaf snacks are truly celestial; my compliments to the kitchen wenches. And get rid of the charleyhorse, please.” she told the angel. “Move it on to the next chapter where a fat lady is stuck in a pantry. Our Cat will have a bun in the oven if I read the auguries aright.”

“Wha..? Best wishes then, Lady. To you and your cat,” said the angel as he/she/it fluttered off.

“Awesome, totally,” said the god, catching a grape with his teeth. “Ontogeny and phylogeny.” The pumping couple paused, as if privy to the thoughts of divinity.

The god wiped his fingers on a passing seraph and rummaged through the wreckage of a cold rack of veal. He came up with a rib, dipped it into a broth of saffron and pink oleander—succulent but deadly to mortals—and sucked it clean of flesh. “How’s your schooling with pronouncements coming along, my pet?”

“Neat but not gaudy,” replied the goddess diffidently.

“Well,” said the god. “‘A rose-red city...’ we have heard him say that have we not? Although under the influence of a narcotic.”

“We did indeed, my hierophant, but more than half a century later on as these ones tell time.”

“This would indicate that they have rotted his mind with the King James Version. Ahh, the happy Hebrews. Fortunately for us, they spoke their prophecies in unaccented 17th century English, notwithstanding that the city referred to is Nabatean—Petra, carved from a sheer rock face. The Hebrew for ‘rib’ is translated as the curves of beauty resident in an Eve, the every-woman. Cat is Eve and wears her nakedness well. He, Lucy, is an Adam, a manly sort though not of such tasty linearity as yon Cat. At this moment and in this place, in this old car. And I do believe he is not wearing a condom.”

*  *  *

Lucy first heard the banging in the cellar as a commonplace distraction, the wind at a loose clapboard, an acorn dropped from a squirrel’s forgotten hoard. Bang-ety bang-ety bang. There—again. Not a squirrel. He pondered the notion that Elliot might have come back for him. Unlikely. “C’mon, Miss Molly, we got us a dinner visitor.” Lucy’s cat groomed herself and purred.

Down the cellar steps to where a loophole had been purposely left in the house’s plastic banking a weasel tricked out in its winter white was fighting to exit with a mouse. “I beg your pardon...”

The mouse was dead and caught in a trap. Bang. Blam. The weasel turned and, eyes bright, challenged Lucy for his prize. The weasel hissed.

“Combat? Not this afternoon, I think. You are not my dead son Elliot returned from the afterlife by any chance? I thought not, but it never hurts to ask.”

Lucy retreated up the cellar steps to return with a set of tongs and a fire poker from the parlor stove in his hands. “Since you’re not family, you are welcome to the mouse, but I want the trap.” As he advanced, fire-hook at port arms, the weasel dropped the mouse and the trap and writhed out the hole. “Thank you,” said Lucy. He removed the mouse from the trap and, carrying it up the cellar steps, pulled on his galoshes and went outside to place the mouse in the snow near the loophole’s entryway. The weasel had drilled a neat tunnel.

Back in the house Lucy scooped a spoonful of peanut butter to bait the trap again.

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