‘And the Rough Place,
“He feels a little chill, can I give him this blanket?” Penny had found
an old horse blanket, clean and folded on the well-ordered shelves in the
back of the P.O.
“Sure,” Miles told her and returned his attention to the conference on
the big well-ordered counter at the front of the P.O. Nobody was talking
much. Mostly, they were sipping. Chipping away at the half depleted half
gallon of bourbon between them.
Celia, Miles, Babby, Morris and Mary sipped and stared. Penny’s
drained glass kept her place on the counter as it was her turn to stay with
They were waiting for the doctor from two towns over to come tend
to Morrow’s wound, nasty business that. “Probably going to need a tetanus
shot.” “In his arm, right?”
In the center of the building, sort of in between the P.O., the sheriff's
office, and the church, was this strange not square windowless space which
the architect (who was not an architect at all, just someone that was called
to oversee putting up a barn or a chicken coop. To this account, all
the barns, chicken coops, and sheds around Ardensville looked a lot alike
due to their obvious lack of right angles) had designated on his building
plan as ‘undetermined?’ To his friends and relations, he described the
‘Ardensville Pavilion’ as his “Opus Magnum.”
The room had one door which opened to the P.O. In it was: an old
swivel chair that no longer swiveled, a 1962 calendar from a fertilizer
distributor, and a framed photograph of Ike costumed the golfer.
Add to this still life one shivering shaking and possibly ‘talkin’ in tongues,’
None of the conferees felt bad for him. Indeed, they considered if
this remarkable finale might serve to make a human being out of Morrow.
A long shot, but, maybe. Clink. There was so much to understand, and so
much more they could not understand.
Immediately following the ‘great revelation,’ Harold rose,
straightened his Gwendolyn hair and skedaddled from the church saying
good morning to no one. He walked back to Irma’s and perched himself on
the rocker in his room, ticking and muttering a bit as well.
Celia found him there. He requested of her respect and, his solitude.
Wordlessly, she complied to his request and returned to the P.O., resolved
to spend the night at Bo’s.
“What the hell just happened here?”
The doctor had arrived. Along with some fancy bandage work and
a tetanus booster—in the arm!—he gave Morrow a shot of phenobarbital and
left a few more doses and syringes with Morris who claimed to know how
to administer them. Additionally, Morris volunteered to take Morrow back
to his apartment above the VFW and keep an eye on him there...for a couple
of days. Penny offered to man the bar if that would help, or keep an eye on
Penny and Morris found themselves of like minds about these
matters. The difference was, Penny talked about it more. To his surprise,
Morris didn't mind. In fact, he enjoyed it.
For the first time in better than a week, the odd and oddly
accessorized people with their out of state vehicles, did not crowd and clutter
the downtown plaza of Ardensville, U.S.A.