Brimstone Run

In Brimstone Run, Bubber Rooks speaks to us from his house next to the junkyard by the dump up Shite Creek just outside of Armitage, a small town in east Ohio, around 1856.  He says he became a falling down drunk because he wanted to sleep with his wife’s sister.  Every time he would fornicate with Dolly, his wife, he would think about her sister.  When the sister came to live with them after Dolly got pregnant, he couldn’t stop diddling Dolly who made noises like a squealing pig, only louder, knowing her sister Aggie could hear her through the paper-thin wall.  Right in the middle of doing it he would get leg cramps but Dolly wouldn’t let him go so they just kept doing it, she squealing like a pig and he screaming in pain.  He says his brother Jackson, who went off to the Mexican War and never came back, told him that the Devil lived out by Indian Caves near the spring where Brimstone Run starts.   A long time ago someone had dug a bunch of deep holes to mine something and Bubber thought he could hear the Devil whispering although he couldn’t tell what the message was.  He says when Dolly was nine months pregnant he got drunk and walked into the wrong bedroom where Aggie was standing naked.  Dolly found them and started screaming and then her water broke and she fell backwards down the stairs and died, but the baby boy survived.  He called his son Egg and married Aggie and they had two girls, Tootsie and Koralee.  But every time he did it with Aggie he thought about Dolly.  He continued drinking heavily and walked out to Brimstone Run and, leaning down into one of the holes to try to hear what the Devil was whispering, he fell and landed at the bottom of the hole like a broken toy.  When he looked up he saw the moon and then his son Egg, five years old, looking down at him, and then he died.  Ever since he’s been dead, he tells us, he’s been trying to figure out why things happened the way they did.  Being dead is like being in a dream and Dolly follows him wanting more and more sex.  When he makes love to her he doesn’t think of her sister but every now and then Dolly yells out the name of his brother Jackson.  What he remembers all the time is his little boy looking down at him and he wonders who the boy is going to kill when he grows up, because the only true thing he taught him is that love kills somebody sooner or later.   He says he still hears voices whispering that death is a dream.  He says he wants to wake up.

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