Oyster Boy Review 08  
  January 1998
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» Levee 67


A Little Grandpa Story

Ricky Garni

there wasn't a cloud in the evening sky. you could smell the honeysuckle which was like perfume in the streets that were covered in the oil of old cars. the pine trees seem bearable while inside the house, a little boy with sandy hair made ready for bed.
be sure to brush your teeth
said his mummy
and wash your face, if you cannot bathe, said his father
said grandpa

said the little boy
there is a little silver package underneath my pillow
hmm, said his mummy, I wonder what it could be?
it's very small said the little boy
and the package is quite crinkly, said his mummy
does it smell? asked his father
grandpa thought of d. day
then grandpa thought of v.j. day
then grandpa said: hmmph

underneath the quilted protector, the little coon hound named luke said
mummy, do you think that luke knows something we don't?
his mummy couldn't lie to the little boy
yes, she shad, I am certain that he does
does the package smell? asked his father again, this time with a sense of urgency in his voice
I don't know,
said the little boy
hmm, said his mummy
and luke thought of iwo jima and
looked up towards grandpa
woof, said luke

there goes luke again, said the little boy
why don't you ask him again, said his mummy
ok mummy, but what about my teeth?
hmm, that's a good question, said his mummy, what about your teeth, she thought to herself
where's that smell coming from? asked the little boy's father
iwo jima, said grandpa

look, the boy said, grandpa's asleep
isn't that precious? said his mum, luke is pressed against his leg like he's holding grandpa up
grandpa, the little boy said softly
woof, said grandpa

I know what it is! said the little boy
what? said his mum
the shiny package! said the little boy
I know, said his mum, but what is it?
I think it's a fish, said his father
I love fish, shad the little boy
grandpa hates fish, said his mum
grandpa's asleep, said the little boy
fish smell, said his father, to high heaven
do fish go to heaven? asked the little boy
I'm sure they do, said his mum
what happened to luke? asked the little boy
I'm sure he's chasing rabbits, said his mum, in the pine forest
and what about grandpa? asked the little boy
I'm sure that grandpa is looking for luke, said his mum
and what about dad? asked the little boy
I'm sure that your father is looking for . . .

just as I thought! said the little boy's father, holding the package in one hand and holding it towards the little light that dimly illuminated their living room
I'm scared, said the little boy
the trenches, said grandpa, at home and rested
luke was home too, licking his chops, looking at the silver package. it was about the size of a large postage stamp. when the little boy's father held it to the light, you could see it reflect the golden hues of the room while, at the same time, it also appeared more crinkly.
it's a keeper, said his father
and it doesn't smell at all, he concluded
why should it smell? asked the little boy
because your father said so, said his mum, now resonate in her putty-colored easy chair, working a complicated applique that she found more difficult than any that she had ever encountered
does heaven smell? the boy asked
I'm sure it will keep, said his father
why should we keep it? asked the little boy
grandpa muttered, victory garden

the little boy's mummy breathed deeply and shook her head sideways
grandpa turned his head towards the window
and so did everybody else
and then grandpa said:
I think it's a bomb. I think it's a big bomb.
I do too, said the little boy
it doesn't look or smell like a bomb, said his father
it smells like almond cookies, said the little boy, can I have one?
be careful, said his mum, did you finish your dinner?
I think we are all going to die! said the little boy
of course we are all going to die, said his mom, philosophically, but the point is, not for a long, long time
and, she continued, grandpa is going to die first

the little boy picked up the shiny package
what about luke? he asked
you can share your experience with luke, said his mum
don't open that thing inside! said his father
let me help you, said grandpa, rising from his chair
as the evening began to set and the fog became a beautiful, slight, silvery mantle that embraced the oily streets, grandpa stood at attention in front of his chair and cleared his throat
luke looked up, attentively
now then he began, I have something to tell you that I think that you all should know . . .