Seth Brady Tucker

The Piggly Wiggly

 


Seymour was watering the brittle rosemary and wilted basil and flaccid thyme in front of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket when he saw the Jensen’s youngest girl get run over by a green station wagon that kept right on going. He thought the car had missed her initially, because he couldn’t believe that a vehicle going so slow could possibly hurt anyone, and the fact that the driver didn’t speed up or brake or even look back made it clear that all was well, that what had sounded like a watermelon being dropped on the ground had indeed been a watermelon dropping on the ground. Seymour even continued to water the plants, worried that Mr. Fields would follow up on his threats if he didn’t keep the goddamn things moist enough so that whatever poor soul who bought them would at least get them home before they up and died on them. For the first few moments after the Jensen kid had fallen under the wheels of that station wagon, Seymour kept watering. Then he thought that he could use the hose to wash the watermelon off the concrete, turn it up and blast the clots of seeds and rind and pulpy viscera off the painted yellow bars of the crosswalk, and maybe even make sure Mr. Fields saw him taking the initiative to clean up. He let the water nozzle fizz down to a trickle and yanked the fattening hose out into the lane, where it coiled like a snake with the release of the pressure as he began to spray again, and that is when he realized that little Sue Jensen had been crushed by those tires, and that the sweet pink watermelon juice was really her sweet little girl blood, and that the tires had made bright red dotted lines all the way through the parking lot and out to the turn onto Washakie street. And even then, it was he who was the first to start screaming, just screaming, until Mr. Fields and all the rest of them came out to see what the fuss was about, and even then his screams kept rising up like a tornado siren, until his voice cracked and his trachea ruptured with the power of it all. It would seem like days later when he would be released from the hospital, allowed to return to his apartment which squatted just around the corner from the Piggly Wiggly, which Mr. Fields had closed for the week in order to honor the family, and he would crack a Keystone Light just like usual but it wouldn’t help, so he opened his medicine cabinet and swallowed everything in there between sips of his beer, because how would he ever be able to hear or see anything again, this thing that was a watermelon and wasn’t a watermelon, like a sonic boom and a flash of light both louder and brighter than anything that ever was or ever would be?