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North American Dreaming: You Gonna Eat That?

William Burkholder tells a tasty tale concerning a man with a great hunger.

Do pleaase visit Bill's well-stocked Web site http://www.freewebs.com/nirvanasgate/index.htm

An Unstable Hunger

I woke up that Saturday morning face down in a bowl of Cheerios. Lonnie was sitting on the other side of the table staring at me with a fork in his hand.

"You gonna eat that?" he asked longingly, looking like a rabid dog about to devour a bone. I scraped the Cheerios off of my cheek and said, " No, go ahead, have at it."

Lonnie was a good friend of mine. We grew up together down on the Nickel Plate river back in the 60s. He came from a poor and abusive family. Lonnie's dad used to lock him up with the coon hounds in a wire cage and feed him table scraps. When the social welfare folks found out about it, they came and turned Lonnie loose and took his Pa off to prison.

Lonnie came to live with me an' my Ma.

But since then Lonnie was always different. He could never get enough to eat, even when we had full meals on the table. He was more coon hound than human most folks would say.

Once I seen him tree a Bobcat, He chased him through old man Lowery's tater patch and across Swanson creek. There was this big old red oak that sat just the other side. Boy, that cat went straight up it, and Lonnie right after him. That cat commenced to yowlin and screamin, hissin and scratchin. Lonnie grabbed him by the ears and slung em against that oak nearly twenty times.

By the time I got there, that cat lay dead at the base of the tree. And would you believe? There was Lonnie chewin on him! I swear, its the dad gum truth! That boy was a narlin and a chewin on that cat like there was no tomorrow. When we finally got him tore away from it he was like a mad man, a huffin and a puffin, He was growlin at us. Ma came a runnin when she heard the ruckus. When she saw Lonnie she had me go back to the shack and call the social welfare folks. They come out and took him off to some sanitorum. Lonnie was gone a long, long time.

I growed up and moved to Otisville, Got a job haulin feed out of Dixons grainery. One day, who do I see walkin down Main Street? Why its Lonnie. I walked up to him with a bag of feed over ma shoulder and I said "Hi Lonnie."

He looked at me and said, "You gonna eat that?"


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