Susie threw Merton into the back woods. Last week Susie’s daughter Mary asked her to set aside a right away to Merton’s oak if Susie sold the property. We knew Susie was going to sell it because she didn’t keep it secret. Susie brags she’s got no time for secrets. Course with Merton gone, she can’t maintain the property, not by herself.
All the time Merton lived with her, Susie never claimed him for a husband or lied about him being just a companion, like some will say. She called him a souse and said she’d outlive him because liquor was licking his liver. Never made her too proud to take advantage of poor Merton, though, have him drive her from one end of the state to the other looking for those fancy little dogs she likes. Or make him paint every ceiling in the downstairs, even though it was never going to be Merton’s name on the deed. Only favor she ever did for Merton was at the end when she set him by that oak he liked to look at.
Daughter Mary was putting flowers by the oak right over Merton couple times a week. She says, souse or not, he treated her better than her own father. I go for a plant myself. Dig it in in May and tend it until frost. Didn’t I tend to Merton through his last sickness? Listened to Susie all the time on him to get behind the wheel and drive to some kennel clear over in Vermont when he couldn’t even put on his slippers. “Least you’re sober,” Susi told him, “but that won’t save you.”
Daughter Mary tried to sneak him some whisky, but Susie wouldn’t have it. “I’ve got him where I want him,” she said.
I gave him a taste now and then, a little whisky with his medicine. Susie never suspected because she thinks I’m just a sober version of Merton. She treats those fancy dogs better than she treated Merton. After Daughter Mary asked about the right away, Susie dug him up and threw him in the woods. Said, “I’m not having people traipsing through the backyard at all hours to stick flowers on Merton. I don’t know if he even liked flowers. I never heard him say he did.”
Course he liked flowers, everybody does, but that’s Susie’s way of talking like she’s straight and keeping secrets at the same time. She didn’t even rebury Merton. Just spread him out there like old manure in the lady’s slippers and fiddlehead ferns and jack in the pulpits. I guess God’ll have to tend him now.
But she’ll find out I’m a different customer than Merton. And it ain’t just because I’m female. I don’t pull into no take-out when I’m driving her from breeder to breeder. I pull into a place will make Susie yank out the plastic to pay. And I got her where she’ll keep the place ‘till it’s my name on the deed.