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Beck and Barn

by Janice Daugharty

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2010 Janice Daugharty

First published in Arts & Letters—Georgia State College and University

Fall 2007

At school plays, Beck would back down the aisle of the old portwine brick auditorium, leading Barn to his seat with outstretched hands. Like a child's game or some old-timey dance.

Though age had rendered him blind, he was still tall, bland-faced with curly gray hair, tilting on the downslope like a pine in the wind. She was midget-sized with the body of a girl and an old woman's horsey face; her gray hair was skinned back in a knot on her nape, and she wore long print frocks, bleached homespun pinafores, and brown hightop shoes. Both were smiling, both plump from partaking of their homemade corn buck. Happy with nothing but each other.

Seated, she would proceed to tell him who was doing what on the stage, her narration salted with local family names and details such as white paper windows and doors taped to the green velvet curtains.

A jangling ring onstage. "They got a real telephone, Barn. Black, like the one they just got in at the courthouse."

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