• • •
Jonathan Knox hobbles out and takes a raight, then a right at the edge of the logs. His droolin’ foot drags through the shin-high grass between the cabin and the trees. Every moment of the hobble feels as though fingers with lengthy, uncut nails are trying to work their way through the legs of his slacks, and at one point he steps on a stick which he mistakes for a finger bone. At the back edge of the cabin (and shin-high grass, thank the Gods like Al Sharpton) Jonathan Knox takes another raight, bringing him out of the shadows and into the bright morning sunlight. They’ve got a hammock back here, and the shithouse. Beyond the lawn is a wall of trees and shrubberies.
The hammock looks tempting, despite all those mysterious stains dotting it like spots on an amanita toadstool. Jonathan Knox’s droolin’ right foot throbs like an infected flesh wound and the hammock looks so tempting, but the foot’s not the only thing that’s throbbing. His bladder is beating like a drum and his intestines are like Polish sausages: stuffed beyond the point of reason. Grimacing for the drool leaking out of his right foot, Jonathan Knox hobbles to the shithouse and opens the door.
He doesn’t even think to knock, he just opens the door.
That line is separated from the paragraph above it because Jonathan Knox should have thought to knock. But he didn’t, so he catches a front-row seat to Cletus’s wife squatting like a gop’ atop the shithouse toilet with her gown held behind her knees.
“Good morning, sunshine!” cries the wife Doe with laughter in her eyes. “You sleep well last night?!”
Jonathan Knox is all spilled out on the trimmed back lawn.
“Well don’t be goin’ back t’sleep now, boi!” She steps down from her throne and lets the gown drop to her bare feet. “And don’be wettin’ yerself, neither. You need t’shit then get y’rself up’n’get on in there.”
Cletus Doe’s wife watches Jonathan Knox struggle his way back to his feet, hands on her hips. When he’s there, “Good boi, you’re strong. You’ll be ready to go in no time.”
“I’m sorry,” Jonathan Knox apologizes. “So, so sorry, Miss, er, Missus, er… I’m just so,” profusely, “sorry.”
“Ain’t nothin’a’be sorry ‘bout, boi,” she says with a slap to his back. “That’s just a li’l’ joke my Cletus and I like to play on our guests if’n’when we get ‘em. It’s just a box, I’m sure it ain’t nothin’ you haven’t seen before.”
Jonathan Knox cannot possibly fathom a response to that statement, for he has no concept of his life before he woke up in the prison room. But that was all a long time ago, wasn’t it? Yes, it was. So why is he still thinking about it? ‘Because I’m weak, I’m weak and afraid.’
“You all right there, boi?” asks the wife Doe, looking at him sideways. “You got a li’l’ spacey on me there.”
“Fine,” Jonathan Knox assures. “I’m fine, thank you. I was just… thinking, is all.”
They stand there, her looking at him squarely, him looking at the ground beside her feet.
“Y’r a strange one, boi,” she says as she walks past him. “Go ahead’n’do y’r business. Food’ll be inside when you’re empty.”
Hobbling like the wind if the wind was crippled, Jonathan Knox throws himself into the shithouse and slams the door behind him. It reeks like rancid rotten feces mixed with spoiled twice-drank piss – concentrated, that is. Water turned into piss by the human intestine smells pontiferous enough, but can you imagine human urine turned into piss by the human intestine? No? That’s fine, because Jonathan Knox is smelling it for you, and partner, it sure as shit don’t smell like flowers.
When Jonathan Knox is done with his business, he walks gaggingly out of the shithouse, lets the door swing shut behind him, and drops straight to his knees. The amount of strength it takes him to not vomit what little his stomach holds could turn a molehill into a mountain and then move that son of a bitch, but he manages to not spill his guts.
Rather than walking around the shadowy side of the house with its fingernail-ass grass, Jonathan Knox walks around the other way where the lawn is trimmed. There’s a large bonfire pit surrounded by stones Jonathan Knox doesn’t think he could budge even with two good feet beneath him. They have a spit set up over it, too, black without a particle of rust.
“I was wondering,” Jonathan Knox says to himself, “where the food would come from. I guess they wanted to wait for me to start cooking.”
Jonathan Knox hobbles to the front door, opens it up, sees Cletus with one leg on the couch skullfucking his wife with a vengeance, and spills himself right out on the front lawn.
“Knoxxi Boi!” Cletus shouts without stopping, without even slowing down. “What took ya?!”
“I apologize! ” Jonathan Knox shouts as he skits backwards, ignoring the ripping pain in his foot every time his right ankle hits the ground to shove. “Jesus Christ, I didn’t mean to… fuck! What the fuck, guys?! ”
“What’s wrong, Knoxxi Boi?” Cletus emphasizes with a big thrust. “You want a piece’a’this yerself?”
“Goddamn raight y’don’t.”
Cletus removes his clog from his wife’s drainpipe [imagine me sitting outside writing this entire novel in broad daylight] and battles to get the trout back into his trousers. The wife sits up and gingerly wipes her mouth, as if she merely smudged her makeup, then smiles. Neither of them speak. No one moves.
After a few moments of silence which feel more uneasy for one of the three present humans than the other two, the wife says, “Well I’ll get goin’ on breakfast, then. What would you like to eat? Eh, my name is Courtney, by the way.”
Jonathan Knox gapes at Courtney like… well, let’s just say he’s flabbergasted instead.
“Well?” Cletus asks. “Answer the lady’s Goddamn question, Knoxxi Boi!”
“Uh-uhhhh… uh… sausage.” ‘For the love of Christ why did I say sausage?’ “Please. Sausage and uh, sausage and scrambled eggs.”
“Sausage and uh, sausage and scrambled eggs,” confirms Courtney mockingly. “Comin’ raight up.”
Cletus walks back to the conveyor belt device, punches the keyboard a few times, and walks over to the belt’s edge. After a bit of whirring and humming the conveyor belt begins to roll, relinquishing a plate of simmering sausage links and a mound of cheesy scrambled eggs. Cletus brings the plate to Courtney, Courtney brings the plate to Knoxxi Boi, Knoxxi Bitch doesn’t put his hands up to accept the plentiful breakfast his gracious hosts have provided for him, so she simply rests it on his chest and walks over to her husband and grabs him by the cock.
“I wasn’t finished wi’you yet,” she snarls in his face.
“Goddamn raight you fuckin’ w’r’n’t.”
With fleshy horror in his eyes Jonathan Knox watches the hillbillies undress and get finished with one another. When the initial shock wears off, he sets the plate of food on the grass and cautiously crawls forward, trying his hardest not to make any noise (not that the Does would be able to hear it, they’re making enough noise in there to bounce the deerheads off the wall), and pulls the cabin door closed.
“It’s just Wuester, New Jersey,” he reminds himself again and again between mouthfuls of admittedly delectable sausage links and eggs. “They’re… they’re just backwoods folks, that’s all. They’re just backwoodsmen. No need for shame when you live this far back in the woods.”
A chewed link of pulverized meats glides down Jonathan Knox’s throat and drops into his stomach like shit into a bowl.
“It’s just Wuester, New Jersey. It’s a different planet, but it’s just Wuester, New Jersey. Things are going to work out for me here. I just need to heal up. Things are going to be just fine for me once I heal up.”
This has been the end of the seventh subchapter of the first chapter of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:
Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox
Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
The Fall of the Seven Earths
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If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~