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   e l e c t r i c    d a r t    w a l l o w

--- M I K E   S C O F I E L D

Hot day. Dog on a rope, poking through bushes.

Lazy day. Park full of slow-motion Sundayers. But tennis players must be nuts: fast, whiz, pant.

Old guys in lawn chairs set up in the shade watch young guys play hardball.

"Play ball, Ump!"

Standing at field level,, looking at the uniforms, looking at the pitches at the field level. Our genes remember African savannas and the flatness looking at the field level. We like lawns so much.

It's home and the sun is always buzzing on our shoulders. The dog means to go for a swim in the drought. The skating rink behind center field is mud flats with foot deep pools of water and weed cattails.

Hot day. Dog on a rope, poking through bushes.

'Ai-EE!' whine from dog. Bees attacking muzzle, head, everywhere. 'Ai-EE!' Jumping kicking whirling snapping dog.

Tickle of tiny feet on neck before electric dart point pushes full juice. 'OW! sonofabitch' slap at neck.

Soft lump of attacking life form rolls under fingers is hurled down. Another one on nose 'PHWAAH!' it away with short, jerky dance. Hot dog tugging in opposite direction wants to run for life onto ballfield.

'No goddamn it!'

Ground exhales a belch of buzzing hell.


Haul dancing dog dancing and swatting. Darts in head, darts in neck, darts in arms and darts in legs. Darts in dog. 'Ah! Shit!' 'Ai-EE!'

Run jerky into mud flats. Break leg in stuck - no - legs work in water. Fighting dog into mud into water away from electric dart attackers. Through the mud flying glimpse fur dog dirty mud flying howling away.

Electric dart buzzing me prone into muddy dirty foot of water. Catch sight of crowd guffaw with hands on knees winded laughing I'm slaying them. Audience catch leash. Mud hot dog curls up and licks wounds with them. Healing hands healing.


Take dart between eyes and force patient calm over hysteria to slip under water skin with nose just above scum to breathe. Can't breathe need mouth too and rise like a bass and get insect hammering spear into tongue.

'Uh! Plew!' spit worming bug.

Go flurry of action again through the pain muscles tightening up. Oh my god the lights in my head scream. This time, corpse-like stiff under water and hold snatched breath to moment of no return. Go heaving into that awful darkness or . . .

Elbow head up above swamp. Peer for darts but only baseball players, old guys, etc. and fast, whiz, pant left.

"Hey - you all right?"

Stings throb like gauntlet run through battering bats. Words push through tightening throat: 'NO! BEEEZZ, you AAZoles!'

© crossconnect 1995-2000 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |