Monday, April 5, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Musings of Monsters by Joe Zavella

Oh boy, it's been a while since we posted a story up here. Sorry for that. What with all the moving I've been doing and the sickness with the coughing and the spitting and the mucus and the headaches. Not to mention all the birthdays, oh! The birthdays! So many birthday's last week (and today)! Also, I didn't realize (quite stupidly) that my new apartment would not come with built-in interwebs. Anyhow. I will be posting when I can, hopefully everyday again. We still have quite a few stories left so I hope you're still reading! Anyhow, sorry for the interruption in service, please carry forward to read a new story by Joe Zavella.

Musings of Monsters
by Joe Zavella

My body jerks to the left and I am ripped out of a good dream, probably my last . My eyelids close tighter before opening into tiny slits. Blurs of color and shape begin to focus in front of me. I bend down to rub my eyes and let my head rest in my hands for just a moment. First I notice the chains that bind my wrists to my ankles. They jingle as they sway. I lift my head and I remember, sometimes it takes me a minute to remember. Orange jumpsuits. Another jerk to the left. This bus ain't made for four-wheeling like this. Only thing making this a road and not a trench is that we're driving in it. They welded a bird cage to the outside of this bus, s'pose they got hip to folks jumpin' out the window. Course the guards would just shoot you down, more bullets on this bus than there should be. All for us. On the other side of the glass the rain and dirt mix to blur my last glimpse of the outside world. They locked me next to some billy-goat punk kid. A degenerate and a thug. He belongs here. Most of them do. Mad and vicious, hooligans. Rapists and murderers. Hissing and spitting when they laugh. They better not spit on me, dammnit this dog's still got bite! They don't care what they leavin' behind, they dont think about it. Not me though, I think about it all the time. Playing with my kids, two girls, laughing and running, playing chase around an old stump we had in the yard. Every time I would catch them they would start screamin and laughin'. My wife, my beautiful wife. Sometimes I close my eyes and remember times when she would come from behind and wrap her arms around me, thin and delicate. Her hair laid gently against the top of my head, her warm breath on my neck, the feel of her cheek against mine. The smell of her lips. I like to think about the little things with my wife.

This is not my first time in a bus like this. I been on the inside of a cell. I have even been in this very trench before, too many times, each time with a new lie for my girls. Daddy’s going on a business trip for a few months. Don’t worry girls, daddy is gonna go take care of a friend for a couple years. Daddy got a job for the summer. Don’t worry honey, daddy is just gonna be gone for the weekend. I s'pose I didn’t want my lil' girls to know the nature of their ol' man. But that’s just the thing about girls; The day comes when you don’t have to get down on one knee to talk to them. The day that they realize all the lies you told, all the holes in their lives that you've dug. That one more is coming, and this time I won’t be coming back to fill it. Everyone's crying while trying not to. Lil' Mary hugs me so hard I think she's gonna break her arms. Allie slaps me with all the hate her little heart can hold. My face stings as tears stain both our cheeks. And I know that at least one of them gave me what I deserved. My beautiful wife, she tells me they're moving, that they won't visit. She cries through her words. The tears stream down her face, aged with a lifetime of worry and struggle. I try to memorize every line.

They say I done terrible things. That I used up all my chances. It's true. I hurt too many people and now must spend my life in a barred cell. Finally going to put this old monster in his cage. Where he can sit and think bout what he's done, all the things he's destroyed. That billy-goat punk neighs another punch line and everyone is laughing and spitting. Fangs disguised as teeth, horns combed back like hair. Claws like fingers. A carriage of monsters who look like men, given only so many chances to hurt anyone who would love them before being sent away to howl and grunt and beat their chests. The bus comes to a stop and as I emerge I feel the rain on my face. It feels good. I wonder if this is what a man feels when the rain falls on his face. I s'pose there is no point on wonderin' how a man feels in the rain. This is not a place for men, only monsters who once were given the chance.
Joe Zavella lives and studies in Riverside, CA. In fact, I'm his new neighbor. Read his blog, it's wonderful: Joe Zavella, Man Shaped Gorilla.


  1. I just got to read this, and I really, really love it! Great job Joe - seriously, a great story.