William Mays wrote Family Obligations, a mob novel. He also co-wrote Escape from Sunny Shores with his wife Carol. In addition he has published a book of nature photos, The View from Oso Creek. His new novel, “George, The Lost Year,” is a dark comedy about the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll era of the 1970s.
I had a dream, which started out pleasantly enough. I was in downtown Corpus Christi, but it was more crowded and hectic than CC, like a much bigger city. I enjoyed the activity and the crowds, and I saw some old friends in a diner named Delk's, but they didn't recognize me, and that made me sad. Everything was so picturesque, I was upset that I didn't have my camera, and I got a little lost in the unfamiliar streets. A helicopter flew low overhead, and I followed it to a strange neighborhood. They were tracking a lion, and they killed it, although it turned out to be a coyote. That upset me. I realized I had lost my leather jacket, and I went back and found it. By then it was almost dark, and I was lost in a strange neighborhood, unsure where I'd parked, with stray dogs nipping at my heels.
On a recent road trip, the GPS took us through 200 miles of small Texas towns. As a photographer, I'm attracted to blight and decay, and boy there was lots of it. I remember idyllic, inviting places with well-maintained houses. There were still plenty of those, but desolation dominated. Buildings, including churches, were boarded. Barns and houses were literally falling apart. Heaps of lumber and debris punctuated the landscape. There were toilets and rusting washing machines on porches. There were fences down and cars abandoned. Weeds completely covered a group of broken-down cars in a pasture. Houses were stranded at the end of flooded roads. Businesses were open but no one could park in the muddy, unpaved lots. Most shocking was a group of mansions that I remember from my childhood. Built when most Americans lived on the farm, they were testament to a glorious past, and had gone through a long devolution from residences to offices to rooming houses to abandoned, crumbling wrecks. Nature abhors a vacuum, so maybe falling land prices will attract people, and a new rural Texas with a different economic base will emerge.
(I wrote this years ago and then put it aside and moved on to another project. I can't remember what I had planned for the rest of the story.)
Der day fer der Shuetzenfest was gettin closer. All der good volk was gettin ready. They was cleanin their guns and loadin up their ammo and pacticin every night after they got in from der farming and ranching.
Herr Muller was in his barn with his favorite rifle. He was tired after a long day using a bedeezer on der goats cuz he couldn’t make no money on dem and was gettin tired of eatin cabrito so he figured he might as well not have no more baby goats. He had tried to get der city slickers that had moved in down der road to take some, but he had already fooled em twice on some other deals, and they was startin to wise up.
He looked out der big open window across der open field and gully to der property of his neighbor Herr Schmidt. He saw him walk out of his house with his rifle and head for der open field behind his house.
Schmidt was der reigning Schuetzenkoenig, and Muller always watched everything he did, particularly when it was gettin close to time for der Shuetzenfest. If it weren’t for Schmidt, Muller would be Koenig. Why didn’t der old fart just have a heart attack and die? Or maybe a huntin accident? As God fearin and church goin man as Muller was, he couldn’t help hopin somethin bad would happen to Schmidt.
As soon as Schmidt disappeared into der wooded area at der edge of der field, Muller took his gun and went outside. He walked across
So we used to have this yard man who drove a big truck like a furniture delivery truck and my wife and I ride adult trikes making us quite a sight in the neighborhood and they don't fit too neatly in the garage not having the slim footprint of a two wheel and I'm always struggling to position them between the weed eaters hanging on the wall so when I saw the yard man in line in front of us at the HEB I didn't recognize him but he was telling the checker that HEB was getting to be like the Wal-Mart and it sounded like a complaint and I finally recognized him and that night after a glass of wine my mind drifted and my wife and I were riding our trikes and then we took them back to the garage and I was trying to position the trike between the weed eaters but it wasn’t my trike it was the great big furniture delivery truck of the yard man and surprisingly I got it to fit which didn’t seem logical considering it was huge but I was happy that I could do it except that I needed to move my wife’s trike a few inches because of the weed eaters so I went over to do it and the big truck rolled out into the driveway and down the hill which is impossible since there is no hill this being South Texas which is flat as hell and the truck kept going and I ran to catch it which I almost did but I couldn’t jump into the cab because I wasn’t quick enough or agile enough and then it careened off over the edge of the creek bed and boy was I depressed thinking about how much the repairs were going to cost.
copyright William Mays
What rhymes with selfie
I do not know
Google will tell me though
Whether tis healthy or wealthy or mayhaps stealthy.
So prithee do tell me
Tales of Lost Lenore
Who will be never more
Whilst I ponder Shelley and Boticelli and Machiavelli.
For me truth is not in a belfry
My hearts in the highlands
Where my soul understands
That I must faithful to my own selfie be lest the world overwhelm me.
But perhaps this is what hell may well be
And the way the world ends
With colliding conflicting individual trends
And a chaos of Jelly Chelsea Delhi Belly Deli Sell Me Adelphi.
copyright William Mays