Neighbor came over in the morning while the sky was still pink and asked Lily Mae about borrowing some salt. Neighbors got just a few teeth left and the ones he still got are all yellow and black like bumble bees and they hurt him real bad, he ask about using Lily Mae’s hot water too, so he can make a salt rinse for he goes fishing.
Neighbor catches fish all day and sometimes he’ll bring Lily Mae some in a bucket of lake water and there’ll be sand in the bottom of the bucket. Sometimes Lily Mae cleans em in the kitchen sink under cold water and then frys em up real good in her Memaw’s old iron skillet and they don’t stick to the pan never.
I remember last time Neighbor went fishin and he’d done caught up a few of us already. I remember watching him from afar all magnified through the water blow his nose on a red bandana and rub his hands together real fast reach up into the air and yawn real big and the water felt heavy all around me like it was pulling me deeper to safety. Neighbor cast out and some of my cousins swam down deep into the darkness. I watched that fat red wiggler in the cool dark and the red wiggler danced on the end of Neighbors line as it drowned. I watched a big bass come up from the deep and take a big bite outta Red Wiggler. I watched Red Wiggler dance some more and I took a bite and the hook went deep inside me like an arrow and it felt like something tugging on the inside of my head and i was gettin’ pulled to the surface slowly and a big net came down and scooped me up into Neighbors canoe.
Neighbor held me in his big rough hands so gently it was like being cradled by bird song. Neighbor pulled the hook from my head and tossed me in a bucket of lake water.
Neighbor took me home in the back of his truck and I sloshed all up under the shadow of that big green canoe all the way there. Neighbor brought me inside and cleaned me, laid me out on the kitchen table on top of newspaper from the stack by the fireplace and Neighbor pulled his lucky bottlecap from his jeans and ran it up and down the length of me till all my scales come off and Neighbor made a big ol’ mess with me and of me all over that kitchen table. Neighbor cut me shallow from my asshole all the way up to my bleeding fish head and Neighbor used his big fingers to scoop out all my little fish guts. Neighbor put my innards in a bowl for the cats and they ate up my insides so fast, right there by his feet while he chopped off my head and then he put my head in the bowl for the cats too. I could feel the cats eating my head even though I’d been dead awhile but I didn’t mind it too bad that time.