By Joe Kirkenir
I never understood people.
For years, I kept my head down and labored away in my woodshop. No matter what modern marvels spring up, people always have a fondness for good old-fashioned wood. Tables, chairs, wheels, benches, houses, you name it, I’ve made it.
Some may call me boring. Most may call me forgettable. I like it like that.
When all those dark-robed chanters showed up, I knew it would be trouble so I did what I do best: Kept my head down and worked. Burning people is a lot harder without stakes. Plus, all those old codgers needed to sit somewhere while they watched the show.
People have been acting just plain weird recently. Granted, things have been weird for ages now, but a lot less violent. I miss the normal weird.
It seemed like that, out of nowhere, people began asking each other which book they believe in and what they thought of magic. I don’t read and the only magic I need is the twinkle in my wife’s eyes when I walk through our front door after a long day’s work. I just tell them what they want to hear until they move on to their next victim.
The Jones family was a nice bunch. Never talked to them much, but they seemed nice from a distance. They were always reading something or talking about reading something or telling someone about reading something. All this with books nowadays!
I’m not the only one who noticed all the book talk. When those robed folks started running around lighting people on fire, they made a beeline to the Jones’ house. Now, I’m not saying I believe in magic, but I’m not saying I don’t believe in it either. What I do believe is that there were a lot of explosions, flames, and screaming.
I’m pretty sure that family is dead now. It was hard to see while looking down at my saw. What a shame. I could have done something, sure, but that’s now what I do best. Instead, I kept my head down and worked.
Then, there was that nutter, Clyde, who wouldn’t stop babbling to himself. He stood by my shop for a while going on about another damn book! It was all I could do to ignore him. You never know what those robed crazies may think if they see me talking with another book lover.
Anyway, I didn’t have to ignore him long. After a few days, he slinked off towards the graveyard. When the burners asked me where he went, I did what I do best: Kept my head down and worked.
I’m pretty sure Clyde is dead now. I don’t think they found him, but I don’t think anyone found him either. I suppose I could have gone looking for him, but that’s not what I do best. Instead, I kept my head down and worked.
Things finally seem to be quieting down. The screams have stopped and there’s a lot less talk of books. Work has slowed down a bit, but I just got a big job from some loud-mouthed pilgrim type.
He wants a couple pieces of lumber nailed together like a cross. I don’t know what he wants it for, but he left this odd book at my shop the other day.
Maybe I’ll just read it for a bit. Business has been slow recently.
Joe Kirkenir lives in York, PA with his cat, Victor, who is named after the complex main character from the classic novel, Frankenstein. He graduated from Gettysburg College with an English degree in 2014 and has worked in the nonprofit sector in fundraising and marketing ever since. When not volunteering with the Animal Advocates of South Central PA or the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, he spends his free time reading, writing, learning, and running. Facebook LinkedIn