The Hell Bucket
But it's not like that. The Hell Bucket is a good thing. Maybe the best
We searched the woods when the full moon bled and a baby's cry split
the trees. Hours spent in mud dyed red and we couldn't find the baby,
but Sorensen found The Hell Bucket. He said he heard it calling his
name from inside the cave where those teenagers died on prom night.
We know how it sounds, but you have to believe us. The Hell Bucket is a
gift not a curse. If only it wasn't called The Hell Bucket, but the
name is written in midnight right on the tin. There's nothing to be
done. We tried to erase it, but Magnuson at the hardware store tells us
it's not any sort of ink he's ever seen. So we bought the blackest
paint on the shelf and matched the thorny font the best we could. We
proudly showed everyone the 'The HellP Bucket' until
Alderson—who was guarding it that night—fell
asleep. When he awoke our 'P' was gone and there were locusts.
Forever it is The Hell Bucket, but you are doing yourself a disservice
if you choose not to look because of poor branding. Only Paulsen claims
to have seen anything at all like the devil weaving nets out of
condemned souls. We find it likely that Paulsen's divorce, and not our
beloved, drove him mad because the rest of us see flowers and puppies
and how the world is going to end in the most wonderful flash of white
Here's proof that it's a good thing: when Paulsen threw The Hell Bucket
into the fire before he jumped from the window, The Hell Bucket
screamed. Nothing unfamiliar with fire can team with evil in the great
battle for our souls. Thank God, The Hell Bucket was fine. It wasn't
even hot. If anything it was blisteringly cold. We were even going to
give it a nickname, The Ice Bucket, but Bergstrom turned blind when he
uttered it in the bucket's presence.
This is your chance to see what love looks like. The Hell Bucket awaits
you behind the velvet curtain atop a mound of granite. The throne is
the only thing it's asked of us, that and the thing with the cats.
We are all so blessed. We don't need the sun to rise again to make us
believe in The Hell Bucket. Inside it we see the awful we've done and
watch each sin transform into something beautiful. Look, look into The
Hell Bucket. Watch as your worst trespass is forgiven by a child
holding an ice cream cone or a baby giraffe taking its first step.
Climb inside the bucket if you want to hear your own sins confessed.
Everyone climbs inside, in the end.
Adam Peterson's new book of fiction/s, THE FLASHER, is out from Spring Gun Press. He edits The Cupboard.
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
of Neil Sanche.
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