Boy meets girl, girl bites boy, boy sees doctor. This is fact. We can verify this. Boy is intrigued but girl moves away before satisfying his curiosity. With its motives and suggestions, this is narrative. The boy works days and moonlights nights as a private detective to earn enough money to follow the girl to Chicago; meanwhile the girl also works two jobs but without declaring whether she’s saving to move back or to move on. This is plot, notoriously wordy, seductive, a trap for the unwary. The boy is coming down with something. From a dark car across the street from the house of a man, his client, whose fortune came from vending machines, he watched for indiscretion. The wife was home. A motorcyclist steered into the driveway like the night before. Light from the lamppost glinted across his hatchet face. The man entered the house; the boy was right behind him. I don’t need much, he told them. Fourteen hundred dollars in singles and I am on my way; the husband never needs to know. The girl picked up the boy at the airport. I’m sick, he told her, over you. She bit him like a flu shot high on his arm. That’s—he bit her back—better, he told her. His bite pounded a stake into the ground. Her bite turned a boy into a man and a man into a meal and then sent the meal back to the kitchen. This is poetry, equally dangerous, friendless and not a good listener, not to be trusted when there are facts to establish, story to tell. They can’t kiss except by locking teeth. They don’t eat out of hunger. He can’t be healthy with or without her, and she is just a girl who likes to bite.

Copyright © January 02, 2008 David Hodges