Imagine a pair of shoes…

They are square-toed black boots, the kind that would hurt you badly if they decided to kick you. I was that kind of man. My hair was black and bushy, my beard was unkempt, and I tended to stink. That’s mostly because I worked hard all day, but partly because I drank most nights. I had no education, and living that life just makes you mad at everything.

I was bad to my dogs. I feel bad about that now. They were the ones who loved me, so they tended to always be around for me to kick them, which I did, with my big black boots.

I lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and worked at the slaughterhouse, so killing and hurting was as normal as breathing to me. I’m not saying I liked it–I didn’t–but it’s what I did every day and I didn’t know any life other than the bawling of cattle and the stench of the entrails.

I married Polly when we were sixteen. I am proud to say I never laid a hand on her in violence. She was a good wife as wives go. She bore me six sons and a daughter, and she kept them out of my way, so I hardly ever laid a hand on any of them. That’s a good thing.

We lived in a log cabin about a half mile from the stockyards. My father helped me build it. It was the last thing he did before he died. Polly made nice curtains for it and did her best to keep it clean, but it was still a dirt floor with a privy in the back and that constant stench of dying cows.

The biggest thing that Polly and I diagreed on was church. I know she worried about my immortal soul, but the last thing I wanted to do on my Sunday was listen with a hangover to that preacher drone on. She stopped nagging after a couple of years, but she never stopped asking. Of course, I made it to each child’s baptism so I guess that was my compromise. I figured the whole household would be in position to pray that I wouldn’t go to hell.

One Response to “Imagine a pair of shoes…”
  1. What a complicated character. What stuck out for me was the fact this character can admit his shortcomings, and quite candidly. How sad, his abbreviated worldview, his adherence to macho masculinity…I really want to know more about Polly. He's a powerful man, but I feel she might be his match.

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