My aunt Jacky would ask me if I wanted a snack. Maybe some Lucky Charms. I’d always loved Lucky Charms. The marshmallows were so colorful, and stiff. It was as if they were born stale.

“Damn it!” I’d tell her. “I don’t want Lucky Charms. I’m a full grown man. And besides, I’m way too curvy for that sort of thing.”


“I mean fat.”

“You are such a goony woony,” she would say.

And she would wink at me. A hard wink. Rock hard. Like the jaws of life.

It reminded me of the old men at church when I was little. I was the ministers kid and they would put me to the test. They would shake my hand so hard that I would become alert and stare them in the eye. And I would be furious. “Have a nice day,” I’d tell them. And they would smile at me.

Lots of stuff happened in that Church. Our youth group would have sleep over there. We called them Lock Ins. And we would play Truth Or Dare and Spin The Bottle for so long that we would all get chapped lips and have to pass around chap stick.

Besides that kinda stuff, I never liked church much. Too many old people. Too dusty. Not enough colors. Still, my parents were ministers. So I had to go. And, eventually, I got attached. When my wife and I moved out west we tried to find a church. But they didn’t feel right. They felt like a suit that was a little too small and you can’t tell if the shirt had shrunk in the dryer or if you’d just gotten too fat.

But we found an apartment that was cozy and we had access to a hot tub. A real luxury. Sometimes our friends would come over and get naked and fill up the hot tub. It was supposed to be for three people max. But we could fit in five or six. We’d just pile in, drunk and naked, making the hot tub look like a pot of human gumbo. And as we cooked in there I would pray to God our land lord wouldn’t see us. Because she was old and very sweet. Her house was right there. And it smelled like baked bread in there. And I would pray that my aunt Jacky wouldn’t call. Because I had been ignoring her calls and I felt like my heart was molding from it. No, I would have to answer and abandon my naked friends.

Down the street was the Columbian River, which looked calm but people told me was actually one of the most dangerous rivers in world. Beyond the river was Washington and places called Dismal Nitch and Cape Disappointment. Lewis and Clark were feeling grumpy when they got to this point in their journey. They were probably over hungry. A bowl of Lucky Charms would have helped.