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Cold Iron consists of random bits of irreverence, surliness, and contumely; sometimes it's even funny. Reading it is entirely optional.

...the iron monger and rusticater himself

Cool Iron

"Never hit someone over the head with a hot iron. Wait until it cools so you don't burn them."

...the source of my ideas

A Necessary Hole

October 1, 2018

A Necessary Hole
One day when I was out on my daily walk I came up to an empty lot I’d passed many times before. It was for sale and had been for a long time. Oddly, a large hole was in the center of it about half covered with a plywood sheet. Suddenly, a head and shoulders popped up with a greeting.
“Hello, my friend.”
It was Pete the Pissed.
As I walked up to him I said, “Looks a little deep for planting tomatoes.”
“You’re a man of good cheer,” he said. “But this is a necessary hole.”
“You never fail to jolt my curiosity, Pete,” I said. “What is a necessary hole? You looking for oil, water, giant mushrooms?”
“Oh, no, nothing like that,” he said. “I have tried in good faith to put this jigsaw puzzle of a country back together in my mind but it’s like trying to build a fire pit out of ice cubes. I have, you see, given things a lot of thought but thought has let me down. So I’m depressed, maybe disillusioned. It’s like a black curtain falling over your eyes at midnight.”
“Not good, Pete. So digging, hard work, buckets of sweat – you find that helps?”
“Not the work. The pit.”
“The pit?”
“It comforts me,” he said.
“Comfort is good,” I said.
“You’re not quite getting it, chubby. Up there, where you are – nothing but unpleasantness, contumely, tirades, the irascible confronting the grumpy, the wrong duking it out with the wrong-er. All that stuff makes plaits in your heart and turns your farts into whistles. It was either this or the mountains of Idaho. There’s a lot of weirdos in those mountains, though. Kind of like Indiana or Alabama. Indiana gave us Mike Pence and Alabama gave us Roy Moore. Me and the wife, we’re taking it all underground.”
“I haven’t seen Maria in a long time,” I said. “How is she?”
“Ask her yourself,” he said. “She’s right behind you.”
I turned around and, sure enough, it was Maria the Maudlin, Pete’s sexy brunette whose moods could make a lottery winner cry. At their wedding she’d worn a beautiful gown of alençon lace and a cathedral train – all of it a rich and shimmering black. She was one of those people you’d want to say was charming, yet whenever she walked into a room the lights tended to dim.
“Hi, sweetheart,” I said. “I see you’re changing your address.”
She kissed me on the cheek then and said, “Pete and I like to think we’ll find better people a few feet below the topsoil.”
“You’re joking?” I said.
“What else is there?” she said. “We’re all just comedy noir right now. We are tolerating world-class shenanigans and calling it greatness when we’ve actually become world-class clowns. If I put on a red nose and size thirty shoes I could run for office. How funny is that?”
“I’d vote for you, Maria,” I said.
“Didn’t you ever, in difficult times, just want to crawl into a hole and pull the midnight sky over your head?” she said.
“It’s not something I’ve thought a lot about,” I said.
“More than anything, though,” Maria began, “we need quiet, surcease from the noise, and it’s all noise, isn’t it, a Sisyphean race up a mountain of babble? ”
“The tribes are shouting, no doubt about that,” I said. “Pete? How far down you planning to go?”
“Until we get some answers,” he said.
“In the dirt?” I said.
“That’s where everybody else is getting them,” he said.
“Whew, heavy stuff,” I said.
“I might be kidding a little,” he said. “We’re thinking we’ll give the country two more years and then we’ll come back up. Should be quieter by then.”
“And if it’s not?” I said.
“We’ll just dig the hole deeper, buddy,” he said.

G.K. Wuori © 2018
Photoillustration by the author

Selected Works

I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes a dark crime story set in a rural, somewhat remote part of Maine in a time when the radicalism of the nineteen-seventies was sweeping the country.
Ellen DeLay, an upstanding citizen of Quillifarkeag, Maine, suddenly and unpredictably leaves her happy, twenty-five year marriage for a lonely cabin deep in the Maine woods, where she makes a living dressing hunters' kill - bears, moose, deer. It seems an idyllic life, punctuated only now and then by rifle fire as she shoots into the air to scare off cheeky teens who come to taunt "the crazy woman."
A small-town lawyer in the middle of a gruesome murder case finds salvation in the world of a homeless woman and her daughter.
A young woman's morning walk through her small town finds her immersed in a small tragedy, an indifferent government, and the "science gone mad" of her best friend's husband. Quirky, goofy, nutty - yes, but a gentle look as well at some of the values that keep us from falling off the planet
A hint of generally true autobiography, this piece is part of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill's "How I Became A Writer" series.
Quillifarkeag is a state of mind, one marked by innocence and regret, by guile and sympathy. The people there will let you into their lives - but not very far. Go too far inside and things start to echo, people get close. Honesty becomes negotiable. Bare all and someone might still say, "Were you naked or nude?" It's an important distinction. In a small place like Quilli the naked truth is hurtful. The nude truth is not so bad.

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