Pigs in Heaven

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver Read Free Book Online

Book: Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Kingsolver
the relationship of Angie Buster and Collie Bluestone, and wonders briefly if Collie is Angie’s chicken supplier, but decides not to ask. Turtle is eating as if she hadn’t been fed since the change of seasons. Taylor is positive they had breakfast. “What kind of Indian is Crit?” she asks Collie. “I never heard of them.”
    Collie makes the same noise again. “C-R-I-T, it stands for Colorado River Indian Tribes, which there aren’t none. It’s a fake tribe made out of whoever got left out when they carved up the territory. It’s like if they called everybody in a prison ‘the Leavenworth family.’ ”
    “Oh. Sorry I asked.”
    “Well, everybody’s got to live someplace, right? There’s some Hopi, Navajo, Mojave.”
    “And everybody gets along okay?”
    “We marry each other, but we don’t get along.”
    Angie arrives again with more food and men. She introduces the men but Taylor doesn’t catch their names, only their hands to shake as they sit down. One of them wears a dog-colored cowboy hat and keeps putting his arm around Angie’s waist. “Did you see that London Bridge up at Lake Havasu?” he asks.
    Lucky pipes up suddenly with his cover story. “Mom, I accidentally walked on the railroad tracks to Havasu.”
    Angie and all the men throw their mouths open and laugh. Lucky joins in, enjoying his own joke, since that’s what it turned out to be. Angie wipes her eyes and it gets very quiet.
    “We didn’t stop this morning to look at the bridge,” Taylor says. “I’ve heard about it, though. Some guy really did buy it and bring it over here?”
    Lucky quietly sings, “London bridges falling down.”
    “Some fat cat,” says the man in the cowboy hat. “And here’s the thing. After he bought it, he decided he had to get it cleaned. He said it cost more to clean it than to buy it.”
    “I had a jacket like that one time,” Taylor says, feeling a certain pressure to keep the conversation going.
    “Set down,” cowboy hat tells Angie. Ordering people around seems to be the m.o. of Angie’s Diner. “Tell them about the time Lucky run off with the Hell’s Angels.”
    “He didn’t run off with them, either.” Angie crosses her arms and doesn’t sit.
    “I want to hear about the mules that kidnapped him in Mexico.” Taylor looks uneasily at Lucky, after she’s said this, but he is beaming. This is his element. The window illuminates his face, raising the color of his eyes to a gas-flame blue.
    “Oh, honey, that was unbelievable,” Angie says. “They told him they was going to shoot him.” Taylor tries to imagine stubborn four-legged animals with guns, until Angie explains that mules are men who have something to do with drug running. “If you’re anywheres near Mexico and someone shoots you for no apparent reason,” she says knowledgeably, “they’re a mule.”
     
    Taylor is relieved to be home in one piece. She and Jax sit up in bed with his tape of They Might Be Giants turned down low, so they’ll hear when Turtle has fallen asleep in the next room. Turtle talks herself to sleep nearly every night in a quiet language no one can understand. Over the years, Taylor and Alice have had manylong-distance phone calls about motherhood. Alice told her not to worry when Turtle was three and still didn’t talk, or later, when she did talk but would say only the names of vegetables in long, strange lists. Alice still says there’s nothing to worry about, and she has always been right before. She says Turtle is talking over the day with her personal angels.
    They hear Turtle sigh and begin to hum a low, tedious song. Then they hear the clunk of her comfort object, a flashlight she calls Mary, which she has slept with since the day she found it years ago in Taylor’s employer’s truck.
    “I missed you,” Taylor tells Jax. “Compared to what I’ve been through lately, you seem normal.”
    He kisses her hair, which smells like a thunderstorm, and her shoulder, which smells like

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