|A story of Quillifarkeag, Maine
by G.K. Wuori
had the food and had been waiting for over an hour, she said, in Hunellia Faulk Ponus Park
on the north edge of Quilli, not all that far, Squis had told someone once, from Labrador.
She thought that was true.
She was waiting for Dené and Li-Lee who were always
late because one or the other of them had to go to the ATM or had to buy cigarettes, which
wasn't all that hard, you just had to say "They're for my mother". Dené said
her father said that was what they'd always had to say as kids, but he thought they'd just
gotten away from it for a long time, until the new laws had come along. He was fond of
saying, "It all just goes around."
SQUIS ENVIED DENÉ, who was pregnant, and Li-Lee who
had a child, a little girl being kept for her by her aunt in St. A de P. Squis thought
everyone was so much like everyone else and she was more like everyone else than anyone
else that just being something was necessary. God knew, she thought, how in the world
Dené and Li-Lee would be able to handle kids, but all Squis had so far was 1350 on
the SAT and no one had come up to her wanting to rub her tummy and say "Cool"
just because of that.
Since Hunellia Faulk Ponus Park was rarely inhabited
by anything other than grosbeaks and geese flopping around the moldy lake it was a good
place to meet to talk about the most extraordinary thing - the murder - without having to
worry about anyone butting in to say they knew why about what, when everyone knew nobody
knew anything about any of it. Sometimes you just had to roll around in bad things and
dream about them and jabber into inanity without someone, say, like Squis's mother, who
was a physician, ragging you into an unlibelous boredom strangled by facts.
"YOU BROUGHT?" DENÉ ASKED.
"Liverwurst for you;' Squis said, while Li-Lee hopped on top of the picnic table and
sat cross-legged and said, "Fried egg for me?"
"You're a princess."
"I hate you."
"No you don't."
Dené had pulled apart the two slices of bread of her
sandwich and was licking the sausage off it as she reached into her backpack and removed a
pint bottle of whiskey.
"Do you know what I heard?" Squis began, but
Dené interrupted her and said she had to get some clothes for school.
"This time around--" she began, jutting her
abdomen out in an awkward way and smiling.
"Of course!" Li-Lee said.
''--it's a little different."
She said her nipples were itching all the time, too,
and Li-Lee said there was stuff you could get for that.
Li-Lee said, "This is a good sandwich,
SQUIS WAS IN THE middle of a sixteen-ounce tub
of yogurt and just said "Thanks" and took the whiskey bottle from Dené.
"Right here, you know," Squis said.
"Here what and what do I know?" Li-Lee
asked, then Dené said, "I think murder's cool."
"Dené!" Squis said.
"A perception, you know;' Dené said. "It's
an infinite power kind of thing."
Li-Lee put the bottle down and said: 'A little ol'
life and death thing, honey?"
"Off the record?" Dené said.
"Who's keeping a record?" Li-Lee answered.
"I peed forty-six times yesterday."
"Off the record?" Squis said. "I think
that is a record."
Dené was holding the whiskey bottle over her head and
looking at the sun through the amber glass as she said, "It got to
She looked at Squis as she said it and Squis, thinking
Dené was trying to shut her out of something, said, "They do it all the time now.
"They?" Dené said. "They who?"
"Who they?" Li-Lee countered.
"Some movies;' Squis said. "My dad gets
"HERE'S WHAT MY MOTHER said," Squis
"The doctor's report?" said Li-Lee.
"As much as she told me," Squis said.
Dené stood up then, her face scowling under a belch
of liverwurst and whiskey, and said, "I have to pee."
"We've done pee," Li-Lee said. "I don't
want to do anymore pee."
"It's not yours to do," said Dené, getting
off the table. Squis didn't think she was walking any too steadily toward the woods at the
park's edge. She rolled a little, but she guessed it was probably the baby rolling.
"AN EROTIC EXPERIENCE?" Li-Lee said
as Dené returned.
"Like reading a mutual fund report," Dené
"He cut her toes off," Squis finally said.
"As in," said Li-Lee, "what's for
"Your mother told you this?" asked Dené
"Think what that would do to your shoe size," said
Li-Lee. "Or wearing sandals;' Dené said. "How would you do that?"
"They don't bury you wearing sandals;' Squis
answered. "I'm sure they don't."
"I forgot she was dead;' Dené said.
"Without death-no murder," Squis said.
"Now I know why you're so smart. Isn't she smart,
Li-Lee, wiping her mouth with a napkin from Squis's
bag, said, "The bottle's empty."
"Squis, honey," Dené began, "I want to
name my baby after you --"
"-- only: Squis. Squis? What is that from? What
kind of name is that?"
"Your dad's name?"
"No. He just calls me that."
Squis smiled at Dené then and reached over and
brushed some crumbs from her sweatshirt. "It's because I'm not a virgin." she
"You're not?" said Dené.
"You're not?" echoed Li-Lee.
"It was medical," Squis said.
"Isn't it always?" Dené asked. "But
"It's just a sound, my dad says," Squis
answered. "'Like water on leaves,' I think he said, or 'like sex in the
"Your dad?" Li-Lee asked.
"That's all I must say." Squis said.
"Oh my." said Li-Lee.
"A good baby name, though," Dené said.
"A good baby name."
Li-Lee, a puzzled look on her face, finally said,