Adult Fiction JACOBS
Summary: FORT DODGE IOWA, MARCH 21, 1868My life is perfect. I know my place. I connect to the planet. No demands are made on me. From time to time I am cradle-rocked. Jolted. Thus reminded of Source, which is comforting if disquieting. Time is no concern. Rumblings above of no consequence. Mysteries below irrelevant. I am entirely defended. Safe beyond sensation. Congealed eternity. I think I will sleep now. Or am I asleep? BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK APRIL 10, 1868George Hull drifted through a dream, smoking himself. He''d turned into a cigar, a Partagas El Cid Corona: thick, mellow, and slow-burning. George enjoyed the transition to dead ashes. His marvelous aroma wafted shimmering rings through the streets of Binghamton, New York, then fractured to color and gave the town a rainbow.His flesh rang the alarm that spoiled the metamorphosis. He woke shivering, naked in his bed, with no cover for protection. George looked over at his skimpy wife, Angelica. The blanket thief. She''d managed to wrap herself in their brown comforter and looked more like a cigar than he had in his dream. George, who had entered her the night before and filled her with a hive''s worth of honey, thought, "Maybe somewhere inside something provident is happening." He owed her a baby.Angelica breathed in shallow little gasps. George imagined she must have lungs the size of snow peas to suck such tiny gusts of air. Sometimes she slept so silently he would shake her to see if she was alive. No matter what the hour, when he woke her, Angelica jumped to attention, alert, cordial, ready to serve him. Then he would snap at her, accusing her of sleeping too quietly, of feigning death. A smiling Angelica would make some effort to apologize through her puzzlement. She confused his rage with concern.For all Angelica''s vulnerable grace, she was the one who had rolled herself in the blanket and left her husband rubbing his body to get the blood flowing. He stood naked doing knee bends, stretching his arms, trying to connect with the icy first light.George heard noises from the factory downstairs. His father, Simon Hull, and younger brother, Ben, were already breakfasted and at work. Industrious men of vision and conviction, they began their labors while owls still blinked at dawn.George put his ear against the wall of his brother''s room. The chilled ear flamed with sounds from a boiling sea. George was suddenly alive. He went out to the hall, quietly as a man of generous proportions could go, his large feet making old boards groan. Angelica was sealed in sleep, a jar of preserves protected by glass and wax.When he came to the door of the room where his sister-in-law slept, he caressed its milky-white knob as if it were a breast. That door was a friend. It opened silent as a curtain.It amazed George that two women could be so unlike. Hushed, skimpy Angelica with her miserly breathing and plush Loretta who gave out the sounds of a bellows. Angelica smelled like a candle. Loretta steamed vaporous rose-water fog, enough to confound the seasoned captain of a clipper ship.Loretta Hull chewed on a moan, her jaws moving slowly from side to side as if she munched music. Her mouth opened like a salty wet shell. Her wide face smiled, the face of a cherub with a halo of red-gold hair. Awake, that hair was disciplined into a tight bun.Asleep, it wandered like wild vines, trickled like spilled wine.Loretta awake was different too, a staunch, ample woman often grave as a tombstone. But in bed, ah, well, a marvelous island. And even though her bed was half empty, she rationed the blanket into equal shares. Ben would never rouse from his sleep with a rattling blue behind and balls shrunk to pits.George dared to move closer. He lifted Loretta''s woolen cover from the bottom. There were her feet, toes curled, ten startled witnesses to an unfolding crime. She trembled and shifted like an earthquake, rolling onto her stomach. Her nightgown pulled up to her waist and George confronted her glorious rump. He
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Scion of a wealthy family; family "black sheep".