The Boy with the Boom Box and the Old Farmer
Jim Heynen

This boy's boom box was so big that he pulled it down the street on what looked like one of those luggage dollies people use at the airport. The sound this boy pulled behind him was bigger than the boom box. Pigeons scattereed and windows rattled. The boisterous sound covered the noise of a delivery truck rumbling by, bounced and rebounded off the glassy tall buildings across the street. Faces swiveled toward him, first smiling, then contorting in quiet agony. The sound of his boom box filled people's chests, the deep bass notes thrumming on the sound boards of their ribs.

Mesmerized with the others, a retired farmer, still new to the ways of the city, stood transfixed on the street, waiting for the spell of the boy's boom box to pass. And, waiting, the old farmer faded back into his own childhood when he would sneak up on a hundred pigs feeding at their troughs. He remembered how he would jump into the pen and catch them deep in their consumption. With no warning he would sing at the top of his lungs, "The trumpet, the trumpet shall sound! And the dead shall be raised incorruptible!"—causing a grand implosion of porcine energy as they plunged over and into each other like clothes trapped in a dryer.

How easily the old farmer came to love this boy and his boom box. What the boy was doing to the city streets was more than he did to pigs. Better than pig madness, the boy left in his wake a delirium of silent awe. Full of thanks, the old farmer stood with the others as the boy spread his terrific light.

Jim Heynen is the author of The One-Room Schoolhouse (Vintage Contemporaries). He's working on a new collection of very short fictions called Ordinary Sins (After Theophrastus).

To link to this story directly:

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of maubrowncow.

w i g · l e a F               11-19-09                                [home]