Smell of Rain by Ramon Collins

Scattered stains decorated dry grass that bordered the path leading down from a bungalow.

An elderly man sat rocking on the front porch, studying somber clouds across the valley. A tic under his right eye kept time with the motion of the chair. Tufts of white hair stuck out around a battered Tennessee Smokies baseball cap. Faded bib overalls stopped an inch above the tops of work shoes.

 

“Gonna rain ‘fore nightfall -- I can smell it,” he muttered to the hound napping on the floor. He readjusted the tobacco cud in his left cheek with his tongue, leaned forward and let loose a chocolate-colored stream that just cleared the porch railing.

 

He rocked back, looked down at the dog, rubbed its head. “Tell you what, Chaser, I’m in the record book and that means I’m still alive. Yessir, batting champion, Southern League, 1974: Hank Jenkins - .369. And that’s who I’ll be until some college kid outdoes me. Some kid who’s squeezin' zits in a bathroom mirror today.”

 

Two small planes droned overhead and banked toward the Mississippi River.

 

Henry glanced at the crumpled paper on the table beside an open packet of Brown Mule Chewing Tobacco. He rubbed his jaw, frowned, tipped forward and squirted another defiant rivulet over the rail. “By gawd, I’m here ‘til something moves me out.”

 

 

Chaser looked up, yawned, then put his head down on his front paws.

 

 

Henry launched a weary sigh. "Wonder what will catch up with me first; that kid or cancer?"

 

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The Linnet's Wings is an Irish Bases Literature and Art Magazine