Chicken Stew and Hooch

Spelk

by Nicholas Rixon

Cold is the heart that hurts someone, and does it again. Grandpa Mick used to say that every time my grandmother hid his bottle of country liquor. In her defence, he did go berserk if he had too much of the hooch. Till I was ten, the drunkenness was amusing. Then it started getting ugly. One day, he punched the postman in the face. “He wasn’t giving me a stamp, Martha.” On another, he stored his shit in a brown paper bag and flung it at the priest on Easter Sunday. While sober, he would line up all the kids from the block and buy them ice cream. In the afternoons, he would pay the bigger ones to beat up the weaklings. It did not matter that I fell into the latter.

I remember summer holidays, creeping around the back of my house. Worried I…

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