In the Basement Where She Belongs

J.R. came in from the field, but I could tell it hadn’t gone well. He threw open the screen door and stomped over the threshold, tossing his coat, hat and rifle in a heap on the settle.

“No answer?” I asked, bracing for the response.

J.R. looked at me in the way someone looks at a bug that has dared to crawl on to the dinner table.

“No goddamn answer,” he spat back. “I guess the rich ain’t as rich as they used to be.”

“Maybe they got lost,” I replied. “You always have folks come out this way – maybe you ought -”

I stopped when it started to boil behind his eyes.

He glared as he pushed me aside, striding toward the kitchen. “She eaten anything today?” he asked.

“Not since last night.”

He crossed the kitchen and reached the door to the basement, throwing it open and cocking his head. Though still in the front room, I could hear sniffling.

J.R. left the door open, reaching in to the fridge and tossing a bag of leftover chicken on the table.

“Then get down there and make sure she don’t pass out.”

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