Pennock Passmore wasn’t long on hope that the situation would sort itself out. He had set out for Michigan Territory filled with hope that he could secure enough new land for himself and his family but his days were now filled with dark and rot. He set his mind to grind through the days yet often Philip drinks whisky and gets himself into desperate spirits.
Phillip Metz, if that’s even his real hame, is the other shantyboy assigned to this section. He drools and wipes his lips constantly with the back of his hand. It’s a loathesome habit and Pennock hates him for it.
They are here for a year by contract.
Phillip has taken to drinking and arguing. It always starts over something like crumbs in the butter, the strength of the coffee, or the brightness of the light. Then it inevitably leads to stern crticism and then finally the black anguish of self-loathing.
But today was different. Philip, in a fit, struck Pennock. Up early drinking, Phillip, in his haste to use the outhouse, broke the latch. It would no longer stay closed at all. Pennock had hoped to fit a new latch but Phillip tore the toolbox out of his grasp and struck him soundly under the eye with the back of his hand. In that moment of violence with tiny burning stars swirling and nerves all firing in pain, Pennock imagined taking the spanner to Philip’s jaw, breaking all of his loathsome teeth. He imagined a cannon blast ripping the man to shreds, the cracking of bone, and the white of brain wet in the cool air. After a moment our Penock found reliefe as the feeling passed and he could take stock of himself.
Pennock never understood why violence surfaced in long-peaceful people until this moment. He asked God for forgivemess.
Over the next day, a brusie, black with wash of sick yellow that crept onto the lower lid of Pennock’s left eye and angry pain that sometimes shot into his teeth. Pennock prayed.
Days later it happened again. Philip, routing in the larder