Wednesday, November 17, 2010


By Corliss Potsdam

Edna was a wild woman. A tornado of tight jeans and hot-magenta fingernails who could be found most any night aprowl the streets of downtown Barleyburg, huffing spray paint and guzzling bourbon like her intestines were on fire.

Then there was Orville, a humble pig farmer. He'd been sweet on Edna since elementary school, and though she would occasionally smile at him or compliment his choice of overalls, his deeper affections went tragically unrequited. As they loped into adolescence, Orville found solace in the 4-H Club, while restless Edna sought the companionship of truckers and wildcatters and too many itinerant rodeo clowns to count.

The years went by, and her lifestyle only grew zestier. Snuffling family-size cans of bug repellent and dancing until dawn became standard practice, as did public nudity and modest acts of arson and crop defilement. Meanwhile, Orville quietly excelled in the art of animal husbandry, and he came to be known as one of the most competent pig farmers in the county. But all the pig-farming accolades in the world couldn’t fill the emptiness in his soul every time Edna stumbled by with a clattering gunnysack of paint thinner slung over her shoulder.

It seemed inevitable that all the hard living would catch up with her. And indeed, Doctor Tibbets showed up on Orville's front porch early one morning with news that Edna's heart had finally exploded after brawling with several members of the Women's Auxiliary. Now the only way to save his beloved, said Tibbets, was with a new heart. A pig heart.

Well, the transplant was a roaring success, and when Edna woke the following day, she felt more alive than she had in years! And there was Orville the pig farmer at her bedside, his rough hands clasped gently around her own, explaining breathlessly how the heart from his very best sow had come to be inside her. For a moment, Edna was too overcome with emotion to speak. Then she pulled him closer, kissed him deeply, and whispered in his ear those few simple words he had longed to hear all his life.

Edna moved in with Orville that week. Her porcine heart was beating steady and strong, and their new life together was blissful, at first. But it wasn't long before Edna returned to her old ways. Empty liquor bottles and aerosol cans soon littered the farm. High school football players shuttled in and out of the guest bedroom with alarming regularity. Most distressing to Orville was the fact that his girlfriend no longer seemed willing to rise at dawn to slop the hogs.

Then there came a particularly frenzied Sunday afternoon of drinking and glue sniffing, which finally compelled Edna to break into the slaughterhouse and climb atop the de-snouting machine, where she began to dance her maladroit version of the Oklahoma Shimmy. Suddenly, the contraption rumbled to life, and as Edna slipped and tumbled into its furious maw, a whir of blades neatly severed both her feet.

The next day, Edna woke in the hospital for the second time in as many weeks, her faithful Orville again by her side. And there was another familiar sight: her bottle of hot-magenta fingernail polish, which Orville was using to delicately paint her fine new pair of hooves.

(Corliss Potsdam is a rising star in agrarian-romance literature. His last story was the heartbreaking From Russia With Love.)


Hugh Jorgan said...

Is there another part to the story, the part where she loses her purse?

Jane Donuts said...

Oh my. Oh my!

Loved the cameo by the high school football players, btw.