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    David Williams

    43. I’ll Take You There

    By David Williams

    She was in the clawfoot tub. She was in there with her flesh and her bones and some suds, reading a book of stories. Ivy Coldwater was her name. She had a short glass of beer on the yellowing tile floor beside one of the claw feet. She took a sip of beer and set the book, spine up, on the side of the tub. She sank low into those suds. Ivy figured if the world ended right then, and wouldn’t that just be the way, she’d at least be clean and only slightly tipsy.

    She wondered how the world would end. She thought maybe a flood. It would just rain and rain some more, carpet tacks and carpenters’ nails, the great sky unsheathed. And then Ivy Coldwater, of general delivery, Prophet, Mississippi, would float away in her clawfoot tub, on the current’s whims, to heaven or hell or the swamps of Louisiana.

    Ivy loved clawfoot tubs. Once, as a little girl, she saw one walk across the bathroom floor. This was in the big house on Peabody Avenue, up in Memphis, before her daddy became a white-collar criminal and was sent to country-club prison and her mama took up with God and lost her sense of joy and wonder.

    The tub took three steps on its claw feet and then seemed about to break into a run. But it did not. Tub water sloshed and then settled as the clawfoot tub hunkered anew. No more did it move. The tub seemed enormously proud of itself, still and all.

    When Ivy drew a picture of what she’d seen, the tub was up on its hind legs, dancing something like The Dog. Bathwater was up to the tub’s ankles—Ivy had given ankles to those claw feet and short lengths of shapely legs, too, and a body that bowed and swayed. Ivy had seen her mama dance The Dog with a perfect stranger. . . . Read More.


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