Friday, November 20, 2009

laughing so hard

I'm currently reading The Liar's Club by Mary Karr. The book is, to quote the back cover, "a wickedly funny account of an apocalyptic childhood." That's a pretty accurate description. The Liar's Club is this woman's father and a bunch of his friends, who sit around playing dominos and telling their best stories. This is kind of long and I'm editing it down a lot, but here's her dad's story:

"Hopped the Double-E train from Kansas City to New Orleans. Cold?" He glares at each of us as if we might doubt the cold. "That wind come inching in those boxcar cracks like a straight razor. It'll cut your gizzard out, don't think it won't. They finally loaded some cattle on somewhere in Arkansas, and I cozied up to this old heifer. I'd of froze to death without her. Many's the time I think of that old cow. Tried milking her, but it come out froze solid. Like a Popsicle." . . ."I shit you not," Daddy says . . . "You hop one one of those bastards some January and ride her. You'll be pissing ice cubes. I guarangoddamntee you that.". . . "they unloaded one old boy stiff as a plank from down off the next car over. He was a old one. Didn't have no business riding trains that old. And when we tipped him down to haul him off---they was four or five of us lifting him---about a dozen of these round fuzzy things rolled out his pant leg. Big as your thumb, and white." . . . "One old boy had a big black skillet in his gear. So we built a fire on the edge of the freight yard. It was a kind of hobo camp already there, some other guys set up all around. Nobody bothered us. This old fella's stretched out behind us stiff as this bench I'm sitting on here." . . . "And you ain't never gonna guess what happens when they thaw." This is the turning point. Daddy cocks his head at everybody to savor it. The men don't even fake indifference. The domino tiles stop their endless clicking. The cigar smoke might even seem to quit winding around on itself for a minute. Nobody so much as takes a drink. "They pop like firecrackers and let off the biggest stink you ever smelled."

"They was farts?" Cooter finally screams, more high-pitched than is masculine, and at that the men start to laugh.

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