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To Spite His Face

"Woo boy!" Sam whistled. The golf pencil flew out his nose, lodging in the screen door.

"How 'bout that now?" He said to nobody.

It had been happening for years. Various things flew out his nose, lodging themselves in various places while Sam whistled various things. But it was okay. Some of the things flying out of Sam's nose were useful.

"Whatcha' got there, Sam?" Art called from across the street.

"Golf pencil."

"Came out your nose?"

"Yep."

"You don't even golf."

"Nope."


Art went back inside. He didn't need a golf pencil.

The front door opened. "Whatcha' got there in your hand, Sammy?" Sam's wife Alberta pointed. "Whatcha' got?"

Sam closed his fingers. "Whatcha' got where? I mean, me. What I got?"

"Don't know. That's why I'm askin'."

"Well," Sam said and looked down at his hand. "Nothin'."

"Ya' do and it's from your nose. You know it and I know it."

"Do not."

"Don't tell me what I don't know, Sammy."

"Why," Sam said, putting his hand behind his back. "You just tol' me."

"That's 'cause I know. The one that does the knowin' does the tellin'."

"Well," Sam coughed, covering his mouth with his free hand. "Well then." Sam held the golf pencil out. Alberta went back inside.

Sam didn't follow. He was used to her sighing. It hurt him something awful but he felt powerless to help. He knew the cause, after all. It was the various things flying out his nose all the time. And yet. And yet. Alberta had to admit some of the things flying out his nose all the time were useful. Her gold pinky ring, for one. Sam didn't know of jewelry, but Alberta sure did wear it. The rubber dart game, minus bullseye. Took a few days before they had all the pieces, but they got there eventually. It was how the two spent their Sundays. Pencils. Loads. Golf-sized today, but some had been full size. Pens. White-out directly after. Chopsticks. Sam and Alberta were admired in the lone Chinese restaurant. Always got extra fortune cookies. Nails. Sam put together a table with 'em and was working on a shelf. Best of all, while on a fishing trip with Art, Sam shot a set of car keys out his nose. He kept the keys in his pocket and every day surreptitiously tried them out on any unfamiliar car in town. Unsuccessful so far, but one day, he told Alberta. One day. They could drive forever. The first time she asked, "Where?" The second, "Where?" The third, "Why don't you try shootin' a map out your nose, maybe?" Sam stopped promising after that.

So, sure. Sigh. Sigh when it was only random legos or pebbles from an aquarium or cat toys. But rejoice! Rejoice when you enjoy a nice game of darts, writing down the scores with as many different pencils and pens as you like whilst downing Chinese noodles like a native, pinky ring glinting in the sunlight, the promise of open roads looming. It wasn't all bad, this nose of his.

This story was written by Kate LaDew, a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, North Carolina with her two cats, Janis Joplin and Charlie Chaplin.


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