The Higgins Brothers, Five Irish Bachelors from a Family that Didn’t Talk about the Past, by Michael Brockley
The Higgins Brothers, Five Irish Bachelors from a Family that Didn’t Talk about the Past
The Higgins brothers wore fedoras and neckties on their days off from Interurban runs on the Tecumseh Arrow. Patrick, or was it John, preferred bow ties, knotted on a white shirt. Crooked, by design. Peanut never cottoned to Herbert Hoover chokers. Instead, he sported those yellow suspenders his girlfriend gave him. The hash slinger he carried on with in the Indian Nation.
Folks from Rose City said the Higgins boys drank in speakeasies where they cozied up to hoochie-coochie dancers. That they hung out with Baby Dodds from King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. What with William doing odd jobs for Gennett Records and such. William, large in the background. The muscle. Hard-boiled. His name left off the backs of photographs. Joseph dressed like a drugstore cowboy in a Sears catalog suit. Folded his left arm across his stomach. Flexed his legs the same way he held his body when he played poker and pitched woo. Rumor had it they favoured gingers. Except Peanut who flattened lucky pennies on the rails chasing after that waitress in Okmulgee.
They lived in a two-story on the Irish side of Bridge. In the shotgun with the profile of a caboose turned on its end. They stayed skinny to pass each other in the halls. Except William. The roughneck who kept a red banty rooster to lord over a flock of ornery hens. Peanut tended a crop of sunflowers in their backyard. Bragged about the chokecherry sunflower pies the Nation gal baked. Any one of them would spit between your legs if you took a shine to Hoover.
For family photographs, they stared into the camera with mugs blurred. As if leery about leaving clues. The type of men who crossed their arms when the deal didn’t square. Peanut’s right leg cocked, Okie style. John’s Cord rumbling in the background with a tankful of Fire Chief octane, primed to challenge the hairpin curves in the road ahead.
Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who worked for 33 years in the schools of northeast Indiana. He lives in Muncie, Indiana where he is looking for a dog to adopt. Over the course of his 73 years, Brockley has companioned five German shepherds and a shih tzu. Since retiring, he has been submitting poems to small market and literary journals. His most recent poems have appeared in Shorts Magazine and Syncopation Literary Journal. Poems are forthcoming in Gargoyle.
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