In the summer of his thirteenth year, he turned 7. What a perfect age to be a boy!
“Henry?” his mother would call out to him.
“My name’s Ben,” he would holler back.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” she would say, and he would realize it wasn’t his mom. Who was that?!
And so it would go in those days. But this particular day was different than every other day. It all started when he woke up. Sure, that part was like other days. So was the part where he ate breakfast and went to school. But then, he came home and went to sleep. So, on reexamination, it was a pretty average day.
“I guess nothing exciting will ever happen in this little town,” Ben said, kicking up some dusty dirty from the ground.
Just then…though he couldn’t see it, a little star twinkled in the evening sky. Eighty years later, he died.
That’s around the time this other story begins…
It was early June, or really late February, depending on who you ask, and the morning was full of possibilities. As the sun rose over Plympton, Texas, Kevin Ashby walked outside and surveyed his family farm.
He looked out over the horses in the horse stable. He looked out over the chickens in the chicken coop. He looked out over the cow in the outhouse. Gertie, his favorite cow. The cow he had taught to shit in the outhouse.
“It’s good,” he said aloud to himself. He had been trying to appreciate things in life more lately. He got that advice from Doc, the town psychoanalyst down at the ol’ barbershop. Kevin had enjoyed hanging around the barbershop ever since he was a boy. Folks used to call him “Shrink Boy” on account of how he could shrink his body down. Really, he couldn’t shrink. But he was really smooth at walking away from you backwards. If you weren’t paying attention, it was hard to tell the difference. It was a neat trick and it kept him out of trouble.
Kevin looked down at the dusty dirt. Dusty Pympton dirt: the dustiest dirt in Texas. Plympton was famous for its dirt. That is to say that Plympton was as famous for its dirt as any other town was famous for dirt, which, admittedly, isn’t that famous…but still. The point is, they were proud of their dirt. Once, a fella came through town trying to sell mud. They just laughed and sent him on his way. Back to the “big city”, they supposed. Kevin picked up some dirt and sifted it through his hands. “Yessir,” he thought, “that’s good dirt.”
He squinted and looked off in the distance. At the very edge of the horizon a black Lincoln Town Car sped along the open road toward town.