The Solomon Twist by Dan Hammond @dhammondjr
The Solomon Twist by Dan Hammond
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Kindle Price: $2.99
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Solomon Texas Press
4.5 out of 2 Reviews
Genre: Satire, Mystery
“The Solomon Twist
Mazel Albright wanted one, just one cigarette. A couple of
hard draws off a Lucky. Was that too much to ask? To reacquaint
her lungs with their old buddy Smoke, the frequent guest
who left abruptly a couple of months ago. Smoke would help
calm and cloud Mazel’s mind, for a few moments at least, from
her impending doomesticity.
She liked that word–doomesticity. Created it herself. A special
talent of sorts. Doomed to domesticity: doomesticity. Could
there be any better way to describe how she felt about the rest of
Making plans to marry in her eighth month of pregnancy
held no embarrassment for Mazel. The only people she might
humiliate would be her parents in Arizona, and she hadn’t even
written them about the baby yet, much less the divorce and
Johnny Cash’s voice crackled through the busted speaker in
the front dash. Mazel turned the radio louder and, as always,
joined in the chorus somewhere between The Man in Black’s
growl and the static accompaniment.
I fell in to a burnin’ ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burned, burned, burned
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
The song only deepened her longing for one of the interred
Luckies. They lay beneath a heap of repair receipts and the tattered
owner’s manual in the glove compartment.
Mazel survived previous cravings for Smoke with stick after
stick after stick of licorice-fl avored Black Jack gum. Little blue
wrappers littered her house and covered the fl oorboard of her
Ford Falcon. She tried chewing other gums and some tasted
better, but none could snap louder than Black Jack. And if she
couldn’t smoke, by God, she would sure as hell snap.
Chewing and snapping though were poor substitutes for
drawing and puffi ng. What she wanted most right now was one
tiny cigarette. Well, not entirely true. What Mazel truly wanted
was to be un-pregnated, another word she created. She also wanted
to be engaged to someone other than Richard McDonald, a man
whose only talents consisted of gun spinning or belching a few
notes of “Love Me Tender.” The cigarette, however, happened to
be a want over which she had a greater measure of control.
Then again, maybe not. Reaching the glove compartment
was no longer a given. She could barely reach the steering wheel.
In her sixth month Mazel had been pleased with the slow, steady
stretching of her midsection. Just baby fat, she would laugh. A
little here, a pinch there, nothing to set off alarms.
During the seventh month she swelled like the slug Johnny
Morris salted and threw down her blouse in second grade. She
could only assume the existence of her feet because visual contact
with them ceased two weeks ago. In bed one night she bent
her knees and as they came into view, she let out an involuntary
yelp. Certain moles and childhood scars were scattered in patterns
which gave her knees the appearance of two jowly baldheaded
Being repulsed by the sight of her own body was one thing,
but what, she wondered, must her fi ancé be thinking? Richard
had promised to take Mazel to see one of her favorites, Rock
Hudson, in The Last Sunset but backed out just an hour ago. The
lousy weather excuse. He owned a wrecker and with the rain
possibly changing to ice, he said he would be in for a long night
of hauling fools out of culverts, gullies and ditches.
As excuses go, it was a good one and if anyone else had
pitched it but Richard, Mazel might have believed him. Truth
was Richard would never let a little ice come between him and a
little ass. Of course, Mazel’s derriere now looked like two sixteen
pound bowling balls trapped in her underwear. If she didn’t
watch out, Richard might abandon her altogether. Where would
she be then? A divorced woman with a baby. Good luck snaring a
man in Solomon, Texas, lugging around those credentials.
She suddenly regretted having lost her temper with Richard
and going alone to the movie on such a dreadful night. With all
of his faults, Richard had been the one to step up and say, “I’m
the daddy. I’ll marry you.” Though a noble gesture that temporarily
endeared Richard to Mazel, she had thought it only proper
to say that she would need time to think about it. After all, they
had only been intimate one time.
But Richard didn’t contact her again for a week, then two
weeks. He took everything so literally. A “no” meant “no” to
Richard, not the “maybe” or “probably” or “ask one more time”
it generally meant to a budding relationship. Her options came
down to either raising her baby with no money, no job, and the
stigma of being a divorced, single mother…or marrying Richard.
Mazel had called him and accepted his proposal.
“So, the baby is mine,” Richard had responded. “You and
me made this child and that idiot Virgil can’t say any different,
Virgil Albright, her recently exed-out husband, had an
entirely different reaction when she told him that he might be