- ― Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
By: Dylan Lenz
Arthur Lancaster raised his daughter Colleen alone. His wife Dorthy had died in 1978. Dorthy had cancer. Arthur had loved Dorthy. He missed her.
Colleen was fourteen when her mother died. It hadn’t been sudden. For the year and a half prior to Dorthy’s death Colleen watched her mother slowly grow more haggard and frail. Colleen had begun to stay away from home more often. At first she would stay at friends houses for dinner and then make her way home, typically the long way. Arthur would ask why she was late but often Colleen would not reply and simply head upstairs for bed. As Dorthy progressively got worse and the doctors sent her home to slowly but surly die over the next four months, Colleen began to find things to do after she left her friends houses.
Arthur Lancaster had moved to Reardan, WA after the war. He had been hired by the government to oversee the night shift at the Grand Coulee Dam an hour northwest, and moved himself and Dorthy from Ohio in the middle of winter. They bought a small house on small farm and raised cattle and alfalfa. Arthur chose Reardan because it was far enough away from the restless men who worked on the dam that barricaded the Columbia River.
The town was quaint and experienced typical growth for a farming community near the exit for Lake Roosevelt. By 1978 when Colleen began to stray farther and farther from her dying mother the town was perhaps five hundred people, but in the summer it experienced a surge in visitors making their way to the lake. Around this time Colleen met Frank Booth who was seventeen with a truck, he would take her to the parties that often occurred at vacationers cabins in the summer time. It was at these parties that Colleen would escape home and find her self, or at least get ideas on how she could.
As Dorothy died Arthur did not ask where Colleen strayed to. In a way he knew what she was doing, he found himself trying to stay longer hours at work, finding extra jobs and other excuses that kept him at the dam late. Many nights he would not know if Colleen was even home, he would simply come to bed and lay next to Dorothy as she slept on the bed they had brought into the living room.
When Dorothy finally did go it was Colleen who found her.
“Mom?” she asked from the hallway.
There was no answer. Colleen walked next to the bed and looked at her mother. She was not herself any longer. Once her hair had been soft brown and her thin face had been full with colored cheeks. They were hollow now. Her hair was pulled back and looked gray, thought it was still brown. Even before Colleen knew the state of her mother, there was a lifelessness about her.
Colleen reached out her hand and squeezed her mothers. Dorthy had Arhtur or Colleen paint her finger nails, not that she could not. They were still the same hunter green that Colleen had painted a few days earlier.
“Mom?” Colleen asked louder this time shaking her mothers arm. For a moment she stopped and looked at Dorthy. Her chest did not rise or fall, there was something strange about her. Colleen touched her neck. Then stepped abck as her held her chin so she would not cry. She rushed to the phone and tried to recall the number for Arthurs office. There was no answer so she tried again, then again, and again for fifteen minutes and she decided that she would call Frank instead.
His mother answered on first ring. Frank agreed to come over and get her. She did not tell him what had happened.
Frank picked her up a little while later. They said little and instead drove out to the lake and got drunk on the awful homemade wine Frank’s father made every fall. Later Colleen agreed to let Frank fuck her for the first time. Colleen did not cry.
David told her he loved her. He did not.
Of all the lies he had ever told this one was the closest to the truth and the one that would trouble him the most. David Lowe was an honest man, or at least he tried to be. Although, there were times, like there are in all of our lives, when a lie is just more fitting than the reality of the circumstance. Times when a story needed a slightly more promising ending to justify the exhibition of the elaborate parts leading to the conclusion. Times when a lie would save face from little shames, like taking a reserved parking space and claiming to not see the sign. What David Lowe failed to realize, as many have failed to realize, is that these lies change the person who tells them. These lies that seem perfect and small, can at times get you in the most trouble and change your life completely.
By: Dylan Lenz
In three minutes everything could change. Lutz stood up, barely. His eyes were swollen. There was a small cut under his right eye brow, so he kept his glove glued to his forehead. He was tired. They both were.
In the previous hour Lutz had left the locker room. He had made his way into the ring. He had lasted eleven rounds with Arcemdes Fletcher. Fletcher was a bit of a wash-up. A good fighter none the less, but for the most part a wash up who had had a chance at his title shot against Povetkin but wasn’t able to make the grade Lutz just needed this win, this win and the chance would be his.
Fletcher feinted right and came at his body. His hooked wrapped hard into Lutz’s ribs. He shook it off and backed up taking a step to the left as he did. Frankie was in the corner shouting at him.
“Jim, One-Two! One-Two,” Frank repeats.
James Lutz nodded as Fletcher hit him again in the mouth. Then he returned it. One Two. His jab hard into fletchers forehead snapping his neck back, then his right hard and fast right on top. Fletcher stumbled. Lutz didn’t give him a second to find his footing. He was on him. One-two. One-two. Simple. Basic. Fletchers left foot rolls and the Ref steps in between the two men.
He starts to count, “One. Two. Three.”
The crowd stands up.
“Four. Five. Six.”
Fletcher is on his hands and knees trying to put his left foot into the canvas and lift himself up. He stumbles.
“Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.”
Lutz throws his arms in the air. Fletcher stays on his knees as people flood the ring as the final bell sounds. One hundred and eighty seconds.
When my grandfather died my grandmother did not remarry. Instead she lived alone for the next twenty years, with the occassional child or grand child staying for a time when money was tight, or hearts were broken. She was alone and rather content.
Ten years before her death she was asked to accompany an old friend to an event. He was a recent widower and didn’t want to go to his Christmas pary alone. They had a brilliant time and danced most of the night. They did not fall in love.
For the next four years the two aged gracefuly, though not without the occasional health problem. My grandmother’s children and grandchildren strayed farther and farther from her and she was left alone like her gentleman friend. They would give each other company, holiday together, watch the news, and fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon.
They fell in love, though not the same sort they had expereinced in their twenties, sixty years prior. They did not stay up at night thinking of one anohter, they did not sneak away to kiss in the cupboards of their parents houses, they did not weep when the other went off to war, nor plan to bear children or any of the actions thereabouts. They were companions, nothing more, though at times he professed he would marry her in an instant.
When he came to die in the spring of their fourth year he said to her,
“My love for you is without bounds, and so we should not bind one to the other, but know my love that forever I will love you and think of you. “