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I.

My friend Crystal lived two houses away. Her parents were always fighting. 

You could hear them from the street

Her mother was the worst. Crystal's mother was always angry about something.

One night Crystal's father was on his way home from work. He fell asleep at the wheel.

The car crashed and his head went through the windshield.

Crystal's father died.

After that, Crystal's mother wasn't angry anymore.

 

II.

I dreamed once of a golden sky and a field of violets.

And sugared leaves that glistened like frost on a winter cabbage.

One morning, early, a straight-line storm hit our town. There were winds over 100 mph.

The sky turned yellow.

Afterwards, we drove around looking at the damage. It was quiet as a funeral. Trees lay splintered on the ground, and homes I passed by all my life and thought, one day.

We were without power for almost two weeks in temperatures close to a hundred.

Seven people died.

After that, I never dream of violets anymore.


III.

In 1531, during the reign of Henry VIII, a trunk containing 366 gold coins intended for the Royal Treasury was shipped to London. When the trunk was opened, the gold was gone, and suspicion fell upon a part-time dock worker and petty thief named John Wolfe.

In June of 1533, Wolfe was arrested and charged with conspiracy, theft and treason. Wolfe's common-law wife, Alice Tankerville, visited her husband daily for the six months he was in jail. Alice was a very pretty girl and a charmer, by all accounts. John Bawd, one of her husband's guards, was quite taken with her.

The case against Wolfe was dropped for lack of evidence. He was released, but given the King's mercurial temperament, Ireland seemed a safer place to live for the time being. In his absence, Wolfe asked John Bawd to look after his wife, and Bawd readily agreed.

John Wolfe had been in Ireland only a few weeks when new evidence turned up, implicating both him and Alice in the theft of the King's gold. Wolfe was tried in absentia and sentenced to death. Alice Tankerville, his co-defendant, was arrested and thrown into a windowless cell in the Tower of London, where John Bawd was her guard.

On a starless night Bawd and Alice Tankerville put into action an escape plan they had devised, and once they were beyond the prison walls they huddled close together. Alice wore a dark cloak and she and Bawd walked past the cottages along the Tower's outer grounds. They were soon spotted by one of Bawd's co-workers.

Having returned to London, John Wolfe was immediately arrested, and Alice went back to her windowless cell. John Bawd confessed his crimes and was sent to “the Little Ease”, a cell four feet high and four feet wide. Not high enough to stand in, and not wide enough to lie down.

On March 31, 1534, John Wolfe and Alice Tankerville were taken from the Tower of London and chained to a stone retaining wall that lined the Thames embankment. They were placed in the water at its low mark and a crowd cheered as the tide crept back in.

John Bawd was moved from “the Little Ease” to the rack. His arms and legs were pulled from their sockets. Bawd was wrapped in chains and left suspended over one of the Tower's outer walls, where he died from dehydration and exposure. John Bawd's body remained on display, for months, in front of the Tower.

After that, it was consumed by ravens and crows.

 

IV.

We bought some pot one time from a guy named Eric.

Eric's apartment was painted red and black.

There was a Nazi flag on the wall.

Eric was Jewish.

He scaled out a quarter-ounce and talked about Josef Mengele.

After that, we bought our pot from a guy named Steve.

 


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