Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Skin-Shedding Fire-flying Vampires Will Not Come Tonight

            The skin-shedding fire-flying vampires will not come tonight, so Ma Perry believes, anyway, for she has fortified her front verandah with a line of salt and the windowsill with a line of salt and the spaces beneath doors with salt and even blocked up the tunnels used by mice with salt, you might think she was trying to keep out slugs and not bloodsucking horrors but it is in fact a well-known fact that vampires simply must count whatever they come across, and when they come across salt, well, to hell with dinner, mind you, you might think they could not move from where they start off from at all because of all the things around them to count, Look, three prostitutes wearing two pieces of clothing, look, fifteen yellow moths, look, the prime minister’s secret mansion has five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, forty-six thousand windows on the left side, look, count the craters in the moon, but anyway we are looking at Ma Perry, a small old woman in a baseball cap and a worn pink dress down to her skinny knees in the Caribbean island of Dominica and we are looking at this woman not because she is on film or in this case on the page for you to imagine in your minds but because this simple act, the laying of the salt along the cracks where things could enter, is the link in a chain that never seems to end or rust, for that matter, a chain that stretches from the time we are told what to do by those who are smarter and older than we are and when we end up telling our children to do the same, even if we do not realize we have simply imported the superstitions of the colonists into the Caribbean and turned it into our own mythology, of course in the morning the salt will still be there, uncounted as ever, and yet I see myself, years in some silly future, telling my children to do the same, if they like, like little things in a foolish zoo.

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