Psalms of Scattered Bones

Olive, a waitress in Psalms of Scattered Bones, speaks to us about her boyfriend, Jacob, who, she says, was vain, a liar, carried a straight razor, didn’t believe in God, and thought that life was Hell.  She says that the sex was exciting although she laughed when he made love to her because it made her happy.  She tells us of passing an old house on her way to work at the restaurant and noticing an old man looking out at her from a window at the top of the house.  He was there, looking at her, every day when she walked to work and every night when she walked home, no matter how late.  Sometimes she heard the sound of an old player piano, out of tune and skipping parts, and sometimes she smelled stew meat cooking.  She says she teased Jacob about her having another admirer, and sometimes he would walk home with her and see the old man, whom he hated, looking down.  Jacob became convinced that the old man had lots of money and decided to kill him.  One cloudy, windy night, Jacob decided to kill the old man, but first he took Olive into the shadows of the ruined garden behind the house and made love to her and held her until she fell asleep.  When she woke up, naked and very cold, she saw the old man looking down at her.  She grabbed her clothes and ran home but Jacob wasn’t there and she never saw him again.  But she remembers two things about that morning:  the smell of roasting flesh, and, in the garden, the sight of hundreds and hundreds of bones.

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