Naked Pueblo

Naked Pueblo

by Mark Jude Poirier

Paperback(1 PBK ED)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786885930
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: 02/01/2001
Edition description: 1 PBK ED
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 0.52(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Son of the Monkey Lady

Chigger has been lying about the raised lollipop-shaped scar on his neck since the day after he got it, back when he was twelve or thirteen. What really happened was he ran into a barbed-wire fence because the Petronis' dog chased his perverted ass out of their yard the night we were trying to see Mindy undress before she got into her big pink girlie-frilled bed. All Mindy ended up doing was brushing her hair and talking on the phone, and then their dog--his name was Lover Boy--came churning from around front and chased us out of there. Chigger got clotheslined on the barbed wire that separated their land from his mom's, and it cut into his neck. Lover Boy caught up and humped him.

The wound was deep. You could see the slimy white of his windpipe like a fish belly--shining, in a bloody hole. Chigger's mother was too drunk to wake up, let alone take him to the emergency room, so we doctored up the hole ourselves. We found disinfectant-laced petroleum jelly in the medicine cabinet next to a box of crispy old condoms that had belonged to Chigger's dead daddy back when his daddy was alive. I packed some of the ointment into the bleeding neck hole, made the blood stop. Chigger didn't cry. Probably because I wouldn't let him see the hole. I put a Band-Aid over the jelly, and he forgot about it until the next morning, when his hungover mother pointed it out.

"You did it to me with the nail-pulling end of the hammer last night," Chigger told her, "right after I called you a man-at-the-dog-track-screwing whore."

"You deserved it," she said. "I'm your mother. Always remember, I'm your mother."

"Monkey Lady."

"You better zipit, or I'll make another hole in your neck," she said.

"Just try it," he said. "I hid the hammer."

I could only stare into my Raisin Bran. I always ate Raisin Bran, no milk, when I slept over at Chigger's house. They never had any milk that wasn't almost cheese.

"I'll use this." She held up a turkey thermometer and slammed it back on the counter. Then she looked down and started smoothing her fake-tan pantyhose, pointing one toe like a ballerina and pulling her skirt up a little, like she was sexy. She wasn't, and that was back when she had both of her legs. She was Planet of the Apes Monkey Lady with creases that ran from her lips up toward her nose and down to her chin, like her mouth had once been stitched closed with wire.

"You'd take my temperature?" Chig said. "Stupid."

"I'll stick you good," she said.

"Stupid."

The whole argument was stupid. Chigger was six feet two, 225, even back then in eighth grade. Monkey Lady couldn't have done shit to him even if she had tried. He went through puberty before anyone else and reached physical adulthood at age thirteen. In gym class, if Chigger was on skins when we played shirts and skins basketball, no one would go near him because of his size and because of the thick growth of red fur he had all over his body--even on his back. His team always won. I was always on his team.

just last week, we were out at Hotel Congress, sitting in the Tap Room, getting drunk on fifty-cent Coors and celebrating my good grades. A girl sat down with us, squeezing up against Chigger in our booth.

"All this and hairy, too," Chigger told her over the crackled Johnny Cash from the jukebox.

She had said her name was Montaigne, but I'm sure her real name was something more like Susan or Anne or Rebecca or Linda or Jennifer or Sara. Her eyes were beautifully dark--like little bowls of chocolate pudding. "Hirsute," she said. "Sexy." She scratched her bony elbow. "I must admit I like your hair color." She pushed his bangs off his forehead. His hair was Bozo-red, like his fur.

Montaigne had a 3-D mole above her lip on the left. It looked fake, like she'd made it from rolling up a glob of rubber cement into a ball and sticking it on there and maybe touching it up with mascara or something to make it darker.

I imagined myself kissing her face. The mole would come off in my mouth, and I'd spit it on the pillow and say, What the hell is that? But I shouldn't have thought that because I had gotten married just a few days before. I shouldn't have pictured myself porking Montaigne, not while I was still married.

"How'd you get the scar?" Montaigne asked Chigger, touching her own neck.

"Knife fight," he said blankly.

"Oh, please." She tapped her cigarettes on the table and bit one out, aiming it at Chigger, then me, but neither of us had a light. She looked around the Tap Room like there had to be cooler people to sit with. There weren't. Only grumpy artists and stinky drunks. One guy who smelled like a urinal puck wobbled over from the bar to our little booth. He held a shaky lighter under her smoke, and Montaigne said, "At least someone's good for something around here," only it was hard to understand her because she had a cigarette in her mouth.

"How'd you get the mole?" I asked her.

"I was born with it, dumbshit," she said.

I reached across the table and pinched her mole and tugged. Her cigarette burned my wrist, but I kept pulling. It felt real all right: rooted, part of her face. Her upper lip stretched out like a tent and she screamed, and her cigarette went down my sleeve and burned me more before I let go.

They made me and Chigger leave. The cranky bartender told us that we weren't allowed to ever go back. Montaigne cuddled up to the bartender and laughed at us. We jumped in Chigger's pickup truck and got a case of Miller for really cheap at Liquor Barn on Speedway and drove up to San Carlos Lake.

first you see the lights of the prison, then nothing, then Globe, then nothing, then San Carlos Lake. Globe was where they used to make asbestos for school ceiling tiles. People in Globe have gray, loose skin because of it. Some of the real victims have skin that looks like it might slough off at any moment into a pile at their feet.

What People are Saying About This

Madison Smartt Bell

Naked Pueblo comes over the horizon very fast indeed. Mark Poirer's stories are speedy, witty, degenerate, wicked, and hugely entertaining.

Ben Niehart

Mark Poirier’s Barry Hannah–meets–South Park short stories erupt on the page. His vision of apocalyptic Arizona -- with its campy piglets, self-righteous sluts, and macho losers -- is as hilarious as it is unsettling. This book is a thrilling antidote to the ‘quiet well-crafted’ stories that threaten our culture.”

Larry McMurtry

I think NAKED PUEBLO is an exciting first collection. Mark Poirier’s prose has a kind of edgy rigor; his angle of attack is very original, aided by an eye that produces many surprises for his readers. Let’s hope there will be a lot.

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