A Bad Year for Apples
We had chickens, mostly. I didn’t think I could milk a cow. Brett said “Sure you can,” so there was Sadie who let me duck under her. After, when I held the bucket in my arms, it was warm. Brett mended fences. He was good with soil, figuring out the chemistry of it and planting things in the right places. He took care of the goats because I didn’t like the way they looked at me all together.
When the atoms started moving too fast they said people should leave the densely populated areas, but Brett and I had moved to the farm two years before.
There were supposed to be six of us. We’d schemed things through. We spent Thursdays around a plastic table in someone’s backyard, smoking and stubbing out the butts in a heart-shaped ashtray. We were dreaming of getting out of the city, moving upstate, having a farm, yeah, a farm. Someone knew someone at a Community Sponsored Agriculture project that would buy our stuff. Our crops, we meant. Our crops. We could cover our rent more than easy. Right around the time of night when we were working out the details, a neighbor would stick his head out the window and tell us to shut up. We’d all shout back at him, and then get on our bikes and go home.
When the election results came in, that cinched it.
“Inauguration day or bust,” Alex said on our ride that night. He called it loudly, over his shoulder, as I tried to keep up behind him. My bike was pale blue and had bristles of tinsel on the handles where I’d cut the streamers. Alex rode with a chain slung across his shoulders. He wore a green helmet. He took me upstairs to his place. Afterward, he stroked my hair and told me about all the things we wouldn’t have to worry about anymore, once we were living off the land.