Knock Wood by Shae Krispinsky
I met Valerie when I was working on her parent’s house. It was me and Jack and the other guys on our team swinging hammers and sawing and sweating in the sun. Her parents drove up in a Cadillac. We had seen them before they liked to come and inspect. By inspect I mean stare. They didn’t get in the way like some people who think because they’re footing the bill, they get to be the boss on the floor. Don’t use that kind of nail, use this kind. What kind of wood is this? Where did you get the marble from? We wanted Alabama – we specifically put that in the contract. They pay more for all the fancy shit but Jesus, it’s almost better to take the smaller jobs just so you don’t have to build the house and their egos up at the same time. Her parents though just came and stood and watched pride shining on their faces.
Then out of the car came this girl, pale, thin with a wound of red hair. Most people when you say they have red hair, it’s actually orange but hers was a deeper, truer red, almost the color of wine. We all stopped but I shook myself out of it after a second and returned to work while the other guys felt it time to take a break, grab some water, talk up the parents everyone feigning to be the Head. I didn’t notice the daughter had walked over to me, was watching me, standing there not two or three feet away, silent, until one of the guys came over and asked if she wanted to see the backyard. I looked up then and saw her and she smiled so briefly, like she didn’t smile at all and it’s something people always say in the movies, but it’s true. I knew right then that I was going to marry that girl and it didn’t surprise me at all. It felt natural and right.
Too bad my intuition didn’t extend out a little bit further so I could have seen what was going to happen after the wedding—the pregnancy—the deaths—but I reckon even if I had I would have ignored it to be with her even for a little while. Knocked wood. Hoped for the best. As I do.
About the author:
Shae Krispinsky dearwassily.tumblr.com lives in Tampa, FL, where she plays in her band
ylosdospistoles.bandcamp.com she contributes to Creative Loafing Tampa, blogs for ARTiculate Suncoast and The Burger Online, creates zines and is struggling to make a good vegetable stock, so if you have a killer recipe, she’d appreciate it. Her writing has appeared in The Milo Review, The Fiddleback, Connotation Press and more.
‘A wound of red hair’ I liked that, I liked that a lot.