Death of an Uncle

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The man lying in the bed doesn’t look anything like my Uncle Joe. His head is all swelled up, and a long, bloody cut runs from his forehead, over his eye, and down to his chin. There’s another cut over his nose, a deep gash across his forehead, and a couple more roost on his chin. Mother comes up behind me with a fresh washcloth and scares the tar outta me.

“What happened to him?”

“Punk Squares and Hammit Bashem beat ’em with knucks and a tar tool,” she says.

“What fer?”

“Don’t rightly know fer sure.”

“When’s he gonna get better?” I whisper.

“Ain’t sure he is, Cono.” I don’t really want to know why Punk and Hammit beat up my Uncle Joe. I’m afraid to.

Three days later, after plenty of moaning, my Uncle Joe dies. Earlier that morning, when he took his last breath, Aunt Nolie covered him with a Blanket and cried, “He didn’t deserve this.” She wipes her nose and eyes with the back of her hand. Except for his cuts and bruises, Uncle Joe was whiter than a bed sheet.

Now some men in a big black car come to take away my stiff-as-a-board uncle.

Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper, my father’s story

Published by

Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

Carolyn is the author of two published books – No Hill for a Stepper, 2001, and The Last Bordello, 2016. Her third novel, The Moonshine Thicket, is set in 1928 and is currently enduring a professional edit. When not on her laptop, she serves as a lap top for her grandchildren. She is a retired Early Childhood Specialist, a fitness boxer, artist, and a ball thrower for her ever-persistent mini Aussie. In addition to her blogging website, carolyndenniswillingham.com, you may find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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