Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Recipes for Survival, Page 304

Recipes for Survival, Page 304
Photo by Matt Collamer via Unsplash.

To make a suburban snow plow, you take your boyfriend, the hometown quarterback, and his pick-up truck, and a shovel, one with a good blade at its edge, and rope it up with bungee cords on the fender, or whatever it is you call the front part, and you make sure it’s tight, snug, and you growl along the roads at 2 AM the night after the snow fall. And you holler, yeah, you holler, not whisper or tread lightly on the world like the white powder as it falls from the sky, but you scream, you yell so loud even the ghosts recoil, so loud you forget you were here to clean.

Tell them like it is, he tells you, Bobby, the driver, the quarterback, your honey, the one you’re always thinking about. Tell them like it is, Bobby tells you. You want to tell him it’s actually, tell it like it is. You want to laugh together over how funny he was saying the phrase, but he’s already off again about the Kennedy’s.

You know it was a fucking conspiracy, that whole family was a conspiracy, and you know John was really into blow, Bobby tells you. The white powder you’re plowing must remind him of the snowiness of cocaine, though you’ve only seen it in movies. This is many years before you watch your wife do lines of the drug from the top of her thin, bony hand before stepping inside a movie theater, before you shrink into yourself, wanting to go home to rest your head on the tummy of your orange tabby cat as the wind howls outside the living room window, to be alone and think of nothing except how soft your wife’s lips were when you kissed underwater at the public pool last summer, how that plush part of her seemed stuck in time but constantly floating away.

You keep driving, keep cleaning up the familiar roads.

Marilyn loved John, Bobby tells you, and, again, you aren’t asking the thing you want to like why the fuck does a sixteen year old doing tackle drills three hours a day care so much about JFK? But you realize you kind of do too, even though you’re a girl, even though you tell everyone you only care about science and insects and the things of the earth.

You tell him you heard Kennedy used to hire hookers, not that you think sex for money should be illegal, just the types of things the men who hire hookers seem to do to them. You hope that comes across.

Yeah, well I would too if I had the money, Bobby says, and you look at his iPod and Nikes and think, well, you kind of do have the money, but you don’t want to give him any ideas. He’s hardworking. He earns his dollars plowing the snow. And he’s your boyfriend. You don’t want to imagine what he’d do if he saw a life beyond you.

You tell Bobby that you heard that JFK would have the secret service bring hookers to the pool, when the White House still had one, and he’d drown them as he fucked them, pulling the women back up before their final breath. Apparently, it was for their heightened pleasure, a kindness, but you know, you always wondered if there was a slip-up, if it ever went too far, and, you know, something got covered up.

Like a conspiracy? Bobby asks. And you say, yeah, something like that.