Wednesday, December 22, 2010

door in the floor

On the other side of the door in the floor is a one-legged man. He's serious, or at least he has a serious side. Every time I come by the house, he comes out from under the floor and introduces himself. The last time he told me his name was Doug. Each time it's something different.

Doug is the type to make sure everything except his nose is clean when he's under his man hole cover. Doug offers me a box of day old donuts and a place to sit. He shuffles around the kitchen dragging his plastic and titanium left leg a bit. The slight drag is how I can tell he's tired.

When Doug reaches the edge of the kitchen counter, he turns and comes halfway back to where the open window is letting in the songs of Saturday afternoon. "During the great bloodless revolution," he begins, "I was a colonel in the army. My men and I didn't charge any hills, didn't surprise any enemies."
I opened the box of donuts and noticed right off that they all looked flat, as if their jelly insides had been sucked out.

"I lost my leg wrestling a gator on a twenty dollar bet."

The first time we met, Doug had lost the leg to a shark. Over the course of the six months I've known him, his missing limb has been the result of a shark attack, an elephant goring, frostbite, lightning strike. My favorite though, is when he told of how after the revolution, his enemies captured him, tied him to the ground with his left leg exposed. They then let four starving badgers loose, who ripped it off his body. 

My grandmother once advised me to never attack someone's imagination, so I let Doug talk, occasionally throwing donut husks at him when he's not looking.

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