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The Bones of Marianna
Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In a high security prison, inmate Bruce Stevens keeps himself to himself. Throughout his six years inside, he hasn't said a single word to anyone.
Each week he meets with his social worker, Diane Parker. Each meeting is the same. She asks questions about his crimes and gets no answers. During their latest session together, something in Bruce's mind tells him it is time for In a high security prison, inmate Bruce Stevens keeps himself to himself. During their latest session together, something in Bruce's mind tells him it is time for his story to be heard.
From his joyful childhood, to being a troubled teen from a broken home, his is a story of broken friendships and the loss of childhood innocence, all of which somehow connects to a talking rat named Ratty. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Ratty's Bones , please sign up. My clothes are new, stiff dark blue bib overalls, and a fresh white T-shirt.
My old briar pipe, age darkened and comfortably heavy, back with me in my left hand, even though it had been tossed away, broken and forgotten, over thirty years ago. And Chester trotting up the steps of the porch, ratty gray tennis ball in mouth, dropping it at my feet for another throw. His sharp eyes see past a long collie nose, looking at me with warm expectation, forever loving and long since dead. I push his death from my mind. It's a dream, but so far, it's a good dream, and questions chase dreams away.
RECORDING UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Woven Bones
Do you want it, boy? The moment it leaves my fingertips, Chester goes with, bounding down the wooden steps, crossing night green too-long grass, his head churning up and down pushing old bones to full speed. This is the best part, the happiest, but before he reaches the ball, it is the nightmarish worst, because this is the part where I know what comes next, and in dreams knowing makes it happen. I feel them behind me, inside my home, inside my kitchen.
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There should be nothing frightening about them yet they are terrifying. I can't help that I am turning, like a slow merry-go-round. My old wooden porch washes over in newly painted white. The steps disappear and the railing gets renewed, inches higher than before.
Hanging plants and hand-painted crafts appear, populating the porch, and I am still turning; turning to look through my old window at that perfectly normal family of strangers in my home. Who will it be this time? The boy? The woman? It's often the boy. Never the father.
The father sits at the end of the table waiting for his dinner and praising something the boy has brought him, over-adulation for hasty blue scribbles on construction paper.
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The woman stands at the table, putting down plates for their late dinner; blonde curls bouncing as she quick-steps back to the stove. She returns with a copper-bottomed saucepan, and I know it will be her. I don't want it to happen. The scene is ordinary, yet dream horrifying to me. I can still take it as long as they don't see me, but she stops mid-stride and turns to the window.
Our eyes connect, and that terrible and familiar wave of paralyzing horror runs through me. The pan falls in slow motion, positioned so I can't see what's inside, yet because this is a dream, I know it's mashed potatoes, still lumpy but with a melting pat of butter. Before it hits the floor, I wake up in my bed, tense and gasping, as though I'd been held underwater. I gain control, sitting up, letting the nightmare fade and shrink down to nothing. My senses return, and I realize I have wetted and soiled my nightclothes. This is the third time. The doctor said it would happen as the condition got worse, particularly for my age.
He instructed me to buy a box of diapers to wear at night. I blame the nightmare, but the third time is the last time I am going to let it happen. As I clean myself and the bed, I try to recall the Chester part of the dream, but it has crawled back into my mind where dreams and nightmares go to rest and wait, so I instead remember back to when he was a pup and the day he got his name. Bonnie was still alive and his name was because of her:. I feel my smile go away as I loose the sheets from the bed, the stain has come through to the vertical striped mattress. I pull it all off and push the shameful bedding to a corner where I will deal with it in the morning.
My great-niece Caroline drops me off out front of the Walmart, agreeing to wait in the car only after threatening to come find me if I'm not out in fifteen minutes. The store is big and bright and as fake as everyone makes it out to be, and I have come to love it. There is everything here from applesauce to shotguns. A man could live out his entire life in a store like this. At the shopping carts, I break one of the metal push-monsters free from the pack, deciding to live with the subtle protesting squeak one of the wheels is giving me.
It will be my protest too. And we protest together, wheel and I, slowly squeaking down the highly polished floor. Just past the pharmacy, I find a dizzying amount of products for incontinence, all hinting at some vague notion of independence and freedom. I decide on something generic in a dark purple box.
The act of putting it in my cart fills me with despair. I am leaning on the handle of the cart when I see her. The woman is coming toward me with a dark-haired boy ambling along beside. Her cart is packed full of food and two long curtain rods on top sticking out like twin jousting lances.
I have a hazy familiarity of her existing somewhere outside my circle of family and friends, but I also feel I know her well. Bouncing blonde curls. Her eyes catch mine, and we interlock in new yet familiar horror. I am a frozen statue watching her attempt a frantic turn with her cart, lodging it against a shelf, spilling a half dozen hairspray cans on the floor.
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The metal cans bounce and roll along; pink caps separate from some and go spinning across the tile. She pulls at the cart to free it. Her hands, locked to cart as she struggles, are only broken free when the boy walks toward me. She picks him up and runs away, abandoning the cart. Other customers watch her, then turn back to me, searching for the source of her frantic fleeing. Here and now is real.
A light sweat forms on my forehead. My heart pounds the sound of rushing water into my ears, and I feel hot and heavy. In a tired and surreal grayness, a falsetto mosquito buzzes louder and louder. Because of the way I hit my head when I went down, I am kept at the hospital for two days of observation. While in the hospital, the woman from the store, and dreams, came to visit.
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Her name is Julie. After much discussion, we found that she and her family live in the old farmhouse I used to own.
We can find no other common ground and no reason for the situation in which we find ourselves, so we decide on help. Julie stops the car next to a lime green two-story house with two absurdly oversized pine trees in front. We get out of the car and go to the house where a sizable woman pushes open a rickety storm door and greets us, saying her name is Karen.
She has dark blue sweat pants with spattered stains of white paint, and a logoed T-shirt visible under her unbuttoned untucked flannel shirt. Her hair is short and brown with a loose natural curl, surrounding a dirty, worn unattractive face save for her eyes and smile.