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‘And the Rough Place,


Chapter 42

              “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,’

       sheriff/minister Morrow.

              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

       sleeping beauty.

              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.

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