My Papa said, “Boy, you are worthless. I am going to remake you now.” I was probably eleven or twelve and I don’t know what he expected, but I sure wasn’t it. I fed the dog and took out the trash but I didn’t break down doors, I didn’t frighten strangers. I did run from burning torches, but I guess that wasn’t enough.
So my Papa, he says, “Okay Boy, here we go,” and he gets me by the back of the head and he drowns me in a bucket of rusty nuts and bolts. “I keep these around just for this sort of thing,” he says, and then he whistles while he holds my head down in the dust and old spent metal. I kick and thrash, but it’s no good; couple of hex heads and a carriage bolt went down my throat, some screws and washers jammed in my nostrils.
Sure enough after a while I’m not struggling no more and I am dead and limp in his hands.
“Hey, Myrna!” he calls out to my Mom. “The Boy’s dead, wanna come see?” But she be dead as well and no answer. Not a problem for my Papa.
“Let’s see, what’s next? Oh yeah―electrocution.” He has to talk to himself now. He drags my corpse to the garage and starts hooking me up to the car battery with jumper cables. He gets a loaf of bread out of the freezer and eats it, bag and all, crunching. I am not sure if this is part of the process but oh well, that’s my Papa for you.
He is working it out in his mind. “All right, it’s red positive, black negative. Red positive, black negative. Yeah, that must be right.” He hooks the cables to the car battery and the other end to my nipples. This would hurt a lot if I was not dead already and beyond that sort of thing.
My Papa, he jumps in the Mercury, cranks her up. It takes a couple turns for the motor to catch but when she does―Whoo EEE! I am jolted back to life. Just like that.
Only it’s not life, really. One of the bolts I swallowed is sticking out through the side of my neck. My skin is blue. My brain is working, sort of, but things seem all clunky. I can walk, but I lurch and my legs are stiff. For some reason my arms stick out straight in front of me.
And I can’t talk. I can grunt and groan and go “Rrrrurrrh!” But I can’t say real words anymore.
My Papa, he grins from ear to ear. The whole package, it is pleasing to him.
“Oh, Goodie!” he says and claps his hands. “Now you can earn your keep! You are a real nasty looking little monster, Boy. Let’s get you dressed for success and we will turn you loose on the villagers! Do you feel hungry? Feel like eating a raw pig?”
I am trying, but I no longer seem to understand what a raw pig is. For me the jury is still out on whether this is better. But my Papa, he is happy. He is beyond happy. So I guess it’s all good. I wonder if I have to go back to school on Monday or if that’s all done with now too. I feel like turning my old playhouse into a windmill. I don’t get it, but I guess I will just go with it.
I have a strong urge to find a mud puddle and look at my reflection.
STEVE SIBRA grew up on a farm in Eastern Montana near a town of less than eight hundred people. As a boy his job was taking care of the chicken coop. He now lives in Seattle WA where he has made a living for the past thirty-five years buying and selling old comic books. His work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, publications such as Shattered Wig Review, NRG, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, 13 Myna Birds, Hollow, Down in the Dirt, and others.