• Ancient Paths

Texan Kahuna Cracking Pecans

by Brian Billings


He woke at the first-grey minute, thinking waves were rolling high beyond dust-coated windows . . . until he remembered the slicing words, the cauterizing betrayal, the relentless RV ride into Lonestars and Miller Lites . . .


Hill Country claimed him; he racked his boards like tombstones, lock-parked in a planed rental lot drier than Abilene in August where orange afternoons peeled Pacific blues from his Bermudas in long welts of fade.

He wanted to call her (third time this year) but feared he’d hear laughter in the line drawn down by buffer-states and calumny, fornicating Californian diction wet and wild and deadly in his windswept ears like a beach-bum Iago.

Better, he decided, to take the iron scoop from the rear compartment and slip its edge among the kicked-wide pecans rolled up to his white-walled wheels. Five buckets filled fast, and then he crushed the fattest nut between his wisdoms,

spat the mess into his left palm, and thumb-rubbed muddy shell apart so tan meat lay wrinkled along his life-line, shooting the curl wicked hard like he never had managed but twice in all his ocean-time. He dropped the accusation, reaching for another chance.