Ryan B. Richey

Selections from "K"

K-town’s Homeless

Next generation Cusser crew should be at school or living with their parents. They wear the same clothes in search of the latest high or financial opportunity. Keck's pool hall's home base. Mama Keck doesn't mind them contributing a quarter every hour or so to the pool table, P-47 or Magic Carpet Ride. Every now and then One Eye and KC will go in on some nachos with cheese. Today's budget comes from a blank checkbook One Eye found. Future paychecks from burned down Friend's? I heard they still have the juke box in there. If we can only pry it open. Cash register at L&W? They don't have cameras. Snotty splits off to Pic 'N' Save for smokes. Asks Dirty Diana to check for Overboard in the back. Swipes Camel Wide Lights before she comes back. Rony Keck wanted Reds. Too bad, beggars can't be choosers. Quickfingers outrolls your Grandma.

Happy Birthday Jesus

Velma puts her bundt cake atop the formica end table. Patty centers it and inserts one of her dusty red house candles into bundt cake’s center hole. Five disposable lighters head towards the wick while the Happy Hutsons surround the delicacy. Gib swats them all away. It’s his house. He was the marine in ‘Nam, a cook, but still. “Marines don’t die they just go to hell and regroup,” proclaims the banner stretched from wall to wall. His lighter flick sends us into:

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Bewildered elderly neighbor who no one really knows groans, “Whose
birthday is it?”
Shh…It’s Jesus’s!
“Oh God, I didn’t know,” he replies.
Happy Birthday Dear Jesus
Happy Birthday to You

Taking Ms. McGarver

Robin doesn’t know how to quit Ms. McGarver. After he gets good there’s no more challenge. Meemie tells him to fix the handrail before she comes over for his piano lesson. Ms. McGarver uses it and she might slip. Robin does nothing. He wants to get rid of her. Finally does when she finds out about him double timing her with an organist in Straughn.

Fruitis is old enough to take Ms. McGarver. Meemie dresses him up with a red suit and a bowtie. At recital he pulls the bench out a little and sits on the edge staring at the music for a couple minutes then turns around. That’s all folks!


No more for you tonight, Red. Dale leans white thicket arms right in beer sweat on the barn wood counter. Red jibber jabbers and shoves off. He hangs along the door rest for a few minutes. Presses onward towards 40. Bottom half motors as his mind idles for ten minutes. From Blue River Bridge he sees the Sale Barn/halfway marker. Ruckus through the barely red boards isn't animals being harmed. It's just Rhonda and Mike fucking. He works there. Fortunately Officer Pat's not around at this time of night. He's a patrolling a buddy's place at Lincoln Apartments. This trips a breeze. Old 40 is all mine. When I get home I'm going heat up that ravioli, lie down and beat it.

K-car drives over white outlines in front of Mr. Meat. What’s that, Mommy? O, bunch of kids ran over Red on his way back home from Vi’s last night. Then they washed him off at the car wash.

The Rapture

Reverend Jim heads towards Mom’s on 70. Back from the New Life Conference. Decides to turn his life around. Be more like Jesus. Nothing to eat for four days. Starting to tire. Stop off at Dunreith's truck stop. Downs a Dew. There's a wreck by the interstate. This must be the Rapture. Parks where there’s no road. Takes off his clothes in the pouring rain. Lies in the ditch where Susan finds him unresponsive. When the police show up they can't identify him. No clothes and a bunch of fake ID's in his truck. Lifelined downtown.


Kicks it at the Snack Shack. He has a grilled cheese and a coke. Tired of no love from the girls. Acne will be gone in a couple years. Pulls a can out his poncho and tags the brick wall on Main I LOVE PETTY.

He’s going to take Mom's car out tonight on the K-town strip in the hopes a girl will see him with a car and get in. If this doesn't work he'll sit up on Broad. Except Mom's car doesn't compare to all the muscle cars, low riders and limo tinted caddies. Takes a shower first with no rag then shaves off every body hair by checking his reflection with the bathroom mirror and a CD back in left hand. Pumps baby powder all over, sprays, deodorizes, squirts the cool water five times on wrists, neck, chest and crotch. Drops the Visine and sticks Q-tips in each ear. Clips fingernails and toe nails. Brushes tongue and roof for two minutes, up and down on teeth for one and a half minutes. Ends with a circular for one and half minutes. Irons Beefy T and jeans. Scrubs shoes with a toothbrush. Takes the rubber band off Back's hat and winds it around wrist. Considers beating it, but is out of time. Armor All's the car. Roots out crumbs with a toothpick. R Kelly's in the slot. Heart throbs deep in stomach upon sight of the historic Knightstown sign.

It takes Trilby an hour and a half to ready for K-town cruising. It takes another half hour to walk into town.

Petty drives by and looks, turns around, stops and looks. Turns up track 4 on 12 Play. Parks car at Frosty Boy. Loiters until Trilby laps back by on foot. Thinks of something funny to say. Says, "How you doing?" Her eyes roll so hard she appears possessed.

Laverne creeps with Hosey ripping Mother to the nines. Bobs his curly head up and down. Trilby thinks he's blowing Hosey. Laverne flashes Canadian Mist and she's in. Laverne does all the talking. Hosey says nothing. He's constantly putting in CD after CD playing one minute of each hit song then exchanging. Covers the latter half of popular 20th century music in a half hour. Drops off Laverne and Trilby. Picks up Petty. Hits Goose Road sharing the bottom of pipe resin and letting the radio do what it will.

Making the Banner

Cusser looks to see if his letter to the editor made the Banner. It did not. He wants a bike lane on 40, but most prefer the sidewalk. One Eye's in there for bad checks. Richey's in there for a tackle he made on Friday. Honor roll kids cut it out for the fridge. Pic 'N' Save advertises meat on a quarter of the page next to Ernie's Superette's full page. None appears appetizing and the prices are similar. The decade long war between K-town's largest grocers remains a draw. L & W vies for action by offering to slice your government cheese.

Gravel Pit

Grubby handfuls of Mr. T cereal. Parachute out there. Hee's supposed to break the worms in half. Instead she pulls them into tiny segments. Places one in her mouth. Legs slip through the moss layer never touching water. Rusty takes a handful of fern and slops it at Hawn. Swipes Hee and Chun's suits telling them they're Adam and Eve.


Arcade covering Chun’s Commando poster has held his attention up until he beat it. It doesn’t need quarters. Rigged to accept jostling the trip wire. The compartment now holds pot. Eventually sold to Keck’s pool hall where it’s still quarterless.

Swimming Holes

Above ground pools in rural backyards are all the rage. Gorman’s built their own. Doesn’t last long. After mowing Crumb’s yard uneven, Chris rests his barrels on the pool’s wall and ends up on his back. Gorman’s backyard swims in chlorinated pond water.

Becoming a Rail

Have to be in shape for the summer. Mount the stationary bike by the Gran Prix sound system. Muffs on head contain the Blizzard of Oz spinning round. The Crazy Train intro cues pedaling. Needle’s buried on the opposite side of the gauge. Continues until the heart pounding and horse breath becomes too much. Wet Chun coasts, wipes hands off on zoo spandex and cools down to Suicide Solution.


Chelseah’s in the garage being groomed for the pet show. Swan sends Chun to gather lukewarm water. He has problems distinguishing between luke and warm. Brings back a bucket of scalding. Dumps it on her. She rockets out of the garage.

Swan makes a pink dress for Hee. The leftover fabric’s tied around Chelseah’s ankles and bowtied around her neck. Load up the Lynx and unravel by Marty’s Tire.

The show’s officiated by Knightstown’s finest. Prizes made up on the spot. Trilby, who brought a goldfish, wins for smallest pet. Peetey receives the largest animal certificate. Mei Ling for exotic. Smokie takes home the furriest prize. Sheena for fastest. Nic’s Nic for slowest. There’s one contestant left. It’s Hee with Chelseah. What should we award them? Well, their fabric matches. How about look-alikes?

The parade of pets and pet owners down main street does not conform to main street. Dogs are hard to keep a hold of when they outweigh their owners. Upon reaching the third block everyone has chased their pets home except for Hee and Chelseah. They’re photographed by default and published in next week’s Banner under the headline Look-Alikes!

Ryan B. Richey stays in Chicago pushing out text, paintings and songs with Chris Lin from their band Hannis Pannis.

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