EXCERPT FROM EYE SKIN – by J.D. Brayton~ Dinnertime at Bogg’s Knoll after One Biblical Ass-kicking


It’s as if the word Unfuckuppable is a stand alone haiku; thought he, knowing better than to say such a thing a aloud, sitting surrounded by three generations of Boggs, all of whom would, without question, re-tenderize him for using obscenity over the victuals. The conversation was as sparse as the décor in the family dining room. The wallpaper, artfully inked crucifix patterns hand drawn by extinct  proselytizers. The chairs, diabolical instruments of torture, straight-backed and knobby, designed to make meals brief, to the point, and uninterrupted by joy. The long slab table a wonderment, plaintive in execution, covered by a table cloth that must certainly double as a hand-pearled burial shroud with gravy stains. The lighting, pejorative and non-conducive to healthy skin tone, casting long ghoulish shadows under the eyes of lugubrious diners. Considering that he had spent the last four years on the run in Mexico,  squatting by cookfires in Chiapas, this was a callow luxury, and in a primitive way—novel. Subtle languor. Dripping chins. Bloat lettuce. The entire scene a Faulkner-like revelation – how  Protestants managed to upstage Catholics by visual asperity was sheer ascesis. The tacit tradition of sparsity. The only words muttered grunts, requests for murdered vegetables and cauterized pork meat. Mook nearly choked on  a mouthful of pickled mush when the thought occurred to him that the dinner conversation (if one could term it so), was straight out of the lyrics of Bobby Gentry’s ’Ode To Billie Joe’—if Chocktaw Ridge had been transmogrified into Bogg’s Knoll and re-peopled by congeries of ass-kicking, regenerate ultra-orthodox snake-whisperers clad in oil-spattered piss-stained bib overalls. At every place setting, blistered tongues, skinned knees,  and clannish devotion to puckered implosion.

 “Paiss them sire pickles.” Grunted Ezra Bogg the Elder, pointing with his fork. His face looked quite like a rotted pumpkin chewing sand fleas. Every time Ezra Bogg the Elder, or his wife, or any of his progeny over the age of twenty moved, there was a not so subtle stridulate chorus of bones rubbing, heavy chewing, nose breath, hiss burping, chairs squeaking, forks clacking, spoons scraping, knives plunging, dish binging and the predictable clearing of post chow-chow phlegm.

“Yawl lookin’ fer nuthah biskit? Gwan n’ try you Mother Bogg’s gravy mister Mook.”

The offer brightened the humor around the table considerably. As if electricity had suddenly come to Bogg’s Knoll, Alabama. It was Lucien the homunculi offering biscuits, having barely spoken since their first acquaintance, two hours before dinner, as he lay prone and shit-kicked in the Alabama red dirt. Mook accepted the offer, though it hurt him to arch his eyebrows in civil acquiescence. The biscuits had his confidence— mushy in the middle—hard as snapturtle shell on the crust.

 “Very kind, Lucien. And thank-you Mother Boggs for baking such flaky well-corralled delicacies.”

       Mother Bogg continued chewing as if deaf to the preternatural grammar used by Edsel Mook at her dinner table. She didn’t roll her eyes. She looked at the wallpaper and ground down a piece of chittlin’ and turd sauce she may not have actually invented, ignoring his presence as any rural gingham-tortured illiterate child might try to wish away shadows or the boogieman. Mook noticed that she resembled a sun-seasoned over-ripened striped gourd more closely than her spouse’s unkempt pumpkininity. Cute couple. Truly, the seed and ovulate has dried at this juncture.

Mook smiled and buttered his biscuit with what looked like home churned cow cum.


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