New Voices Revisited: “Trash” by Lindsay Reid Fitzgerald

July 29, 2021

This month’s New Voices Revisited turns the calendar back to August 2018 to revisit Lindsay Reid Fitzgerald’s barbed “Trash”. As we wrote then, this is a wholly unique and surprising piece. The narrator’s tough, and often crass, exterior peels away as the tale progresses. Read on.

“She looked at me one day on the bus and did something to me with those eyes. Made me feel like I got jackknifed in the gut. She looked me in my face till she had her fill, and I couldn’t do anything but sit there and take it.”

Scotty’s got a hard-on for Fatass. It’s fucked and we know it, but we don’t ride him about it too hard. He hasn’t been himself since his mom found a lump in her tit and her hair fell out. He don’t know what end is up or down these days, and we get it. We’ve all had our shit.

Fatass lives in the trailer park out near DuBrey’s store and tonight we’re going to see if we can break in with a key Dean swiped. As for the trailer park, you’d have to pay me to go there. All day long, there’s howling kids running around, like no mother ever told them to stitch their lips and sit down or else. Fatass lives in the middle of that mess with her dad and her brother and all them dogs she collects. The brother has a face like a junkyard, with acne pits from ear to ear.

The dad is on the road most of the time. He was locked up for a while but now he drives truck. Word was, he shot a guy in the face but had good reason. A lot of people wagged their heads when it happened, but as far as I’m concerned you got a right to protect yourself if someone tries to hurt what’s yours. Anyway, if you saw him on the street you’d have a hard time picturing him pulling a pistol or some of the other things I’ve heard. He’s small like a woman, shoulders no wider than a ruler. He’s real polite and don’t talk hardly at all. They say he can shoot the nuts off a squirrel, but I haven’t seen it myself.

The mother lives downstate somewhere with a new husband and new kids. Nobody sees them drive into town. Aunt Faye says it’s a shame there’s no mother to tend to them two while the dad is gone, no one to teach that girl how to be a proper woman. I say if I was that mother, I’d want to leave them, too. Aunt Faye says I’ve got darkness in me, and if I don’t get it cleared out, there’ll be consequences I can’t imagine. She asks what kind of man do I want to be, anyway? Do I even want to be a good man? When she says that, I just shrug but I know what she means. She worries I’m going to end up like my older brothers, fried in the brain from drugs, or too poor to get their teeth fixed, or drowned at the bottom of a lake.

But she don’t know me, not really. No one does. If there’s one thing sure it’s that I won’t end up like them, and I won’t end up like my dad. Pissed at the whole world. Crying in his truck by himself. I see Aunt Faye look from him to me and back again, and someday before I move out I’m just going to tell her, Look, you did okay with me. I won’t be the kind of man anyone has to hide from or pray for.

Dean says you’re a man when you play life by your own rules. He says people will try to cut your balls off every chance they get. He reminds us of that when we get our backs up about some of his schemes. He says look. Whose rules we playing by, theirs or ours?

Lately I wonder if he knows what he’s talking about, but the way he says things takes the air out of your lungs. He tells us guys which way to go, and like fools, we do.

To read the rest of “Trash” click here.


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