Bone Hill, Fiction, Novel

Bone Hill – 1 – Divil

You should see the ugly scar on the sidea my noggin where the German Shepard bites me bad one day.  The scar goes along the sidea my ear over here on the left when I look at myself in the mirror and it runs like that crack in the plaster on the pantry wall.  When people see the scars, they gawk, then look the other way.  Pa Farrells’s the only one who doesn’t even seem to notice.  He is glad to see you all the time.

The ting happens when I am smaller two years ago when I’m nine, even tinner and shorter than now.  I’m walking’ down Lafayette Street Hill, in West Scranton, and I’m with Pat Hefferon and he’s gonna show me, I hope, where he’s always finding Indian flints and arrowheads.  Doughboys are over there acrosst the pond fighting the Kaiser and Mr. Wilson, the president, he is in Washington, the city, telling them how to do it when they need help.

Tony, the owner of Divil, lives down at the bottom a that hill and when he gets a chance, he sics his dog, Divil, at people and kids like me and Pat who are tick enough to take themselves down the hill on the sidea the road he lives on.  Then Tony calls Divil back before the dog bites anybody.  Tony is a mean man and tinks it’s a lotta fun doin’ that, scaring people.

Except for one silly ting.  When Tony isn’t there, the dog don’t know the difference, like when to stop and when to go back.

It’s in the heat a summer.  Vacant lots on hills are filled with them milkweed pods and Queen Anne’s lace bakin’ in the sun. I’m goin’’ down the hill with Pat, like I said, and we’re just mindin’ our business when the dog, Divil, comes growlin’ and chargin’’ at me.

Before I can even tink about pickin’ up a rock to chunk at him, (Divil is a big bugger, big enough to knock me down), he hits me right in the chest with a two paw push and slams me flat on me back, and Pat, he takes off so he can get help up the hill and I punch at Divil and I’m wild and ascared and I yell, but Divil bits into me bad, into my shoulder and into my wrist where I try my hardest to bat him away and, worst of all, Divil bites me bad on the face, right here on the face and on the head, where I get scars and me Ma, she says that they don’t detract from my appearance at all, which I know means that the scars, especially the one by my eye, it don’t look too good.

If it ain’t for Mrs. Scanella, who lives right there, acrosst the street where Tony lives with the German Shepard, I don’t know how many times the dog woulda bit up my face.  My ear’s all bit up and ugly, too.  Dad says Divil might a killed me if it wasn’t for her.

Mrs. Scanella comes wadin’ in, swingin’ at Divil with a broom and she chases the dog away and she’s cursin’ like a teamster, too.  She can curse in Italian, too.  You outta hear that.

She makes all kinds a ohs and ahs and she is ready to take me into her house where she is gonna clean me up I guess, on account a the blood and all but I just want to go home.

All I want to do is go home.

I say thank you very much, I tink, just the way mother taught me to do, and I check all around for Divil, to see that he is for sure back under the porch, and I take off, runnin’ up the hill for home.

Mrs. Scanella is standin’ where I got away in the middle a the street chewing her knuckle and watching me step heavy more and more as I go – heavy up the hill, climbing with my hands pushing on my knees, puffing harder and harder, trying to run.

I get awful dizzy and I get needles in my head and sick to my stomach by the time I get to the top a the hill, ready to make the turn to go down Van Buren Avenue, but because a dizzy feeling, I gotta start walkin’ instead of running to go down the Van Buren Avenue Hill, and I begin to wobble.

I get fuzzy and I bump into green summer dusty Hemlock bushes there in fronta the Houston’s, the bushes Mr. Houston trims and is proud of, and they spray out dust when I brush cobblestones from the dizziness when two strong hands catch a hold a me.

It is me brother Jerry.  My head gets blood all over his shirt and he says, “Jes-sus!”