Entry 3: Day 6 – Pale Green Things

The heat beat down from overhead. I stood, my pale, thin frame towering over the young potato plants. It had been a dry summer that year in NE Pennsylvania. Nine Inch Nails punished my ear-drums over my portable CD player's headphones.

I kicked up the dust between the rows of potato plants. A small cloud of dust passed through the air to the horse pasture 20 yards away. I moved to the next plant and systematically turned up each leaf. There was one on the next leaf. I pulled it off and took it between my thumb and middle finger. The potato bugs guts popped out both ends when enough pressure was applied. I dropped the remains into the coffee can in my left hand.

It was ungodly hot. My back hurt and it was difficult turning myself upside down to see under all the leaves as I juggled the coffee can, my cd player, and handled each leaf individually. I moved from one plant to the next and the next. I worked from one row to the next.

I stood upright eyeing the ground I had covered. Finally, all the plants had been picked over. I eyed the dead and slimy worms in the can. Their souls squeezed out both ends, bleeding onto each other. I dumped the remains at the edge of the woods and headed inside.

Slunk down against my dresser it turned on my stereo and shut my door. The cool air from the AC blasted through my vent and I ran my washed hands through the plush blue carpet. This is how I spent most of my days when I was out of school in the summer. Chores in the morning until it was too hot. I would come inside and listen to music, reading or drawing. Sometimes, I would just pour over the lyric insert the entire length of an album.

My door flung open, no knock. He stood in the doorway. His ancient overalls hung damp and stained. His face was red and the sweat ran down his chin. I had known him for 2 years and had seen him smile twice. His face held no smile, and his eyes burned as embers, and his mouth hung in a perma-frown. He lumbered over to my bed, favoring his prosthetic leg. He held his left hand out in front of him and turned it over on top of my comforter.

"You missed some," he said. The potato bugs lay dead in a pile on top of my comforter, red fluid draining out and staining the baby yellow color. He moved slowly out the door as the color drained from the walls and glowed red.