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A Plinth of Night

Thursday, November 10, 2016 19:19
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Every night he watched them, this strange trio, the two men and the woman (that is what it looked like, a woman, that is what it appeared to be in the darkness), make their way by foot along the side of the highway and go over the railroad tracks and disappear to goodness knew where.  Then, maybe an hour or two later, they would return the exact way they had come, except the men would be toting cloth sacks loaded with something, and he could almost hear them, even across the road, grunt and groan with their new burden.

The woman did not make the trip by foot, however, because she had no legs to carry her, and she did not carry a sack because she did not have arms to balance such a weight.  She was mainly a torso, a miniature trunk with a large head of whitish hair, that the men had secured to this kind of trundling table, this flat, round surface that moved upon rollers.  It reminded him of an altar, a plinth, and the woman, if that’s what she was, was a kind of malformed deity being pushed back and forth by its subalterns.  He could pick out her deformities in the successive electric lights secured by cedar poles along the road and because he had excellent eyesight, twenty-twenty vision.  She had legless feet and armless hands, all of which appeared useless and incapable of motion.  She wore the same colored dress night after night with the sleeves and legs cut away to allow her stumps to “breathe.”

The two men with her appeared young and scruffy.  Each sported full beards and wore caps and denim shirts and blue jeans.  They were slender and long-limbed.


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