Listen, meine Kinder

June 11, 2001

The two dogs sat in front of the barcalounger. Ingrid settled in, sighing, and popped her feet up. Taking a chicken tender from the bag on her lap, she bit into it, chewing slowly. Pittie and Socorro looked at her. Pittie drooled through the space where his four side teeth used to be and Socorro vibrated slightly.

Ingrid talked around her mouthful of tender. “Listen, meine Kinder,  and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” She finished chewing and licked her fingers. “This I had to memorize when I first came to America  and went to Schute with my cousin. She was in the seventh grade, so I was in the seventh grade, too, even though I was already sixteen. That’s how they did things in those days. It was ok. The girls wanted to know all about menstrua­tion and I told them, so they did not be mean to me, and I learned the English good from them. It was 8th of November, in thirty-five, I think. Or maybe thir­ty-eight, but that doesn’t rhyme so good. Hardly a man or woman is now alive who remembers that famous day and year. Anyway, a long time ago.”

Ingrid extracted two more tenders and conducted a little Brahms with both hands, humming as she conducted . The dogs locked on her hands and followed the swooping tenders with their gator heads. They smiled nervously and trembled but did not jump. “He said to his friends if the Deutschen march, by land or by sea to the town  tonight,  hang  a  lantern  aloft  in  the  belfry arch. Belfry is where the bats live in the church of the Goyim. And also in your head if you go crazy. One if by land.” She tossed the first tender to Pittie, whose attention had flagged a little. “And two if I see.”

The second tender landed on Socorro’s nose. The brindle pit bull whined and drooled but did not move until Ingrid snapped “pickle”. Then Socorro flipped the tender up in the air and caught it on its way down. It disappeared in one bite. “And I inside the closet will be. Ready to hide while the others do not arm. For they were stupid and didn’t hide and were all taken away but me. I miss them even now, but yes, they were stupid . And I was stu­pid for going out after the Deutschen took them, and I followed them. I joined them, and that was a bad idea. The end.”

Ingrid divided the rest of the chicken tenders three ways. When they were all finished, she let the dogs lick her fingers off, Pittie as usual taking the right hand and continuing to lick his way up Ingrid’s forearm  to  her  tattoo. Ingrid made them lie down, one on each side of the barcalounger, and the dogs went off to sleep, dreaming of piles of tenders. After a few minutes, Ingrid’s eyelids shut and she began to snore softly, then roused and spoke to the sleep­ing dogs. “If Deutschen march  in  here, you hide, you understand?  And you  two be quiet. They have things more scarier than your teeth.”

Anne Vinsel spent 16 years at the University of Utah Hospital doing medical writing and surgical photography. She holds a MS in psychology and an MFA in painting. She loves reading and writing fiction and playing with her friends, including her adorable and wiggly pit bull/great Dane/basset rescue dog, Dr. Miranda Bailey.

Rubor Participation:
2019: Poems, "Waiting: 10 Poems Begun at a Bus Stop," web edition
2019 Prose, "In Time of Famine, the Devil Dines on Fries," web edition
2019 Poem, "Lemon Drops," web edition
2019 Poem, "Triplets"
2015 Essay, "Pas Seul"
2014 Photograph, "Irrigation"
2014 Photograph, "Ghost Surgeon"
2014 Essay, "Listen, meine Kinder"
2014 Oil Painting, "Chemo Pond"