Lost and Found, fiction by Benjamin Soileau

I was drink­ing beer and wash­ing the dish­es that had piled up all week. I fig­ured it would give me some­thing to do to take my mind off of things. There I was, scrub­bing and scrap­ing away. I was wash­ing a knife when the blade sliced through the sponge and sank into my fin­ger. It hap­pened just like that and there was a lot of blood. I cursed Mandy then, because it was as if she had slashed me with the knife her­self. I wrapped some nap­kins around it, got anoth­er beer out of the fridge and stepped out­side the trailer.

 Damn, my hand hurt. I strut­ted around out there in the yard like a roost­er, scratch­ing open the earth with the heels of my boots and chug­ging that beer. I looked down at the nap­kins and I could see the red spread­ing through. Just then I heard the door go fly­ing open and slam against the trail­er. I looked up and saw that lit­tle son of a bitch go fly­ing down the steps and tear across the yard like his ass was on fire. I hollered for him a few times and just fig­ured he’d come back in a bit. What next, I thought.

Back inside I ran my fin­ger under some water and I could see that it need­ed stitch­es. I got some Band-aids on it, then wrapped it up tight with some Scotch tape and put on a work glove, although I’m not sure why. I went in the kitchen and grabbed the last beer. I knew I was going to need a lot more before this day was through. I stood there in the kitchen and looked out at the empti­ness. She’d tak­en every­thing. She even took the rotat­ing fan that I need blow­ing on me so I can sleep at night. It was just me and Bojan­gles now and I couldn’t under­stand why she hadn’t tak­en him with her. Hell, two weeks ago we were fine. I was going to meet­ings and com­ing home to her telling me how proud she was of me. We were back to play­ing house. But then one night last week after work I ran into this fel­low from my group at the Pig­gly Wig­gly and he was buy­ing a case of beer. We saw each oth­er in the aisle and our eyes both said, oh shit.  We drank that whole case down at the land­ing and that was that. Six months for nothing.

I hollered for Bojan­gles a few more times when I got out to my truck, but he was gone. I was going to have a pity par­ty right then about how every­body want­ed to leave me, but I didn’t waste much time on it. I knew I had to go get him. I need­ed more to drink any­way. I live on a few acres of land at the end of a long grav­el dri­ve and I took it slow, lean­ing out the win­dow, call­ing his name and whistling for him. I thought maybe he’d gone to find Mandy. I’d tried to find her too, but I hadn’t any luck. I prayed that she hadn’t gone back with her ex-hus­band toTexas. That’s the only rea­son I could fig­ure that she didn’t take Bojan­gles. Ronald the rop­er wouldn’t care much for a dog with one ear and a heart full of worms. I could pic­ture her ask­ing him if she could take the dog and being told no, and then hav­ing this tear­ful good­bye ses­sion with Bojan­gles in the trail­er while her dude ranch­er wait­ed out in the car. I had to hope that she was around somewhere.

I thought I spot­ted a dog piss­ing in the bush­es and I slowed down, but then I saw that it was just a deer car­cass with a bird danc­ing around on top of it. I drove on, and I could feel my heart­beat in my fin­ger. I looked out past the oaks that lined the road and out into the fields. I remem­bered when we got Bojan­gles from the pound. First thing he did when we got him home was to piss on my work boots. After that he ripped all the tin­sel off the Christ­mas tree and tore into the present I had just wrapped for Mandy. I guess she already knew I’d got­ten her some slip­pers with those fuzzy rab­bit heads on them, but she act­ed sur­prised any­way. I had a mind to take that mutt on a one-way trip to the woods then, but she loved him. She’d tak­en him with her the last time she left, but that was only for two nights, and she was only at her cousin’s house, mak­ing me sweat. I hoped this time wouldn’t be much longer.

I kept the win­dow down, but sped up a bit. There weren’t a whole hell of a lot of places he could have got off to. I pulled in at Pete’s Palace. Pete had a lit­tle sign in the lot with most of the bulbs bust­ed out of it that adver­tised “the cold­est beer in town.” Gayle’s Bait Shop also had a sign that promised the very same thing, and most of the lights on that sign glowed just as bright as they pleased, but they know me down at Gayle’s and Pete doesn’t give me any shit. Plus, he actu­al­ly keeps his beer in tubs of ice so it real­ly is the cold­est, I guess. I walked on in and the bell dinged.

Hey,” Pete said with­out look­ing up. “What you know good?”

Aww, you know. Same old same old.” I leaned on the counter and watched Pete back there on his stool. He was dab­bing paint on a fish­ing lure with the point of his pock­etknife. “Say, Pete. You hap­pen to see my dog run­ning around here this afternoon?”

I heard a mess of dogs out in the park­ing lot ear­li­er, but I don’t know if yours was with them or not.” Pete stared down the end of his glass­es and kept dab­bing at that lure. “What you got one glove on for?”

I told him and then I went back to the tubs to fish out a six-pack of tall boys. I plopped the beer down on the counter, and Pete moved on over to ring me up.

Hell, he prob­a­bly just stepped out to get a lit­tle tail,” Pete said, stab­bing the tabs on that old cash reg­is­ter. “Tell you what. If I see him roam­ing around here, I’ll keep him here for you.”

I got my beer and head­ed out. I told Pete over my shoul­der that he was a good man no mat­ter what every­body else inLiv­ingston­parish said about him.


The beer was so cold I could hard­ly taste it. I had the win­dow down and kept call­ing for him. Mandy’s pho­to was still taped on my dash­board and I couldn’t help but feel like she was judg­ing me. What did it mat­ter now, I thought. I’d just ride this one out and go to a meet­ing tomor­row. Start fresh. After a lit­tle ways and a few more beers I heard a bunch of hounds cry­ing out. I turned down a grav­el dri­ve into a trail­er park and parked at the entrance. I put those beers down under the seat and fol­lowed the bark­ing down a few sites. I walked up on a lit­tle boy with only his under­wear on. He was spray­ing about five bea­gles with a hose. They were locked up in their pen and they sure didn’t like get­ting wet. That lit­tle kid was just laugh­ing and car­ry­ing on.

Hey, boy,” I said. “Stop spray­ing those dogs like that.” I peered up in there but I didn’t see Bojan­gles. That boy just stood there star­ing at me like I was crazy, let­ting the hose squirt all onto his bare feet.

Dad­dy!” he yelled.

The door to that trail­er opened and I’ll be damned if Lon­nie LeBlanc didn’t come march­ing down the steps. We used to work togeth­er in high school, shuck­ing oys­ters at Hardi­son Seafood.

Quit your hol­ler­ing, boy,” he said when he got down next to the kid.

Lon­nie didn’t have his shirt on either and I thought he was going to smack that boy, but then he noticed me stand­ing there. “Hey, Hen­ry, where y’at?” He came walk­ing over to me and I shook his hand.

Damn, Lon­nie, what’s it been, six months?” I knew it had been six months because that’s when Drew Far­ra­day bust­ed Lonnie’s head with a shov­el down at Harry’s Bar. They car­ried him out that park­ing lot on a stretch­er and nobody had seen him since.

Yeah, you right,” he said. “I just been stay­ing at home most­ly. I still can’t work.”

I didn’t real­ly want to get into it. “Say, Lon­nie, you hadn’t seen my dog run­ning around here?”

I don’t know your dog,” he said, fin­ish­ing up his beer and toss­ing it in the grass.

He’s about yay high,” I said, and put my hand three feet off the ground. “He’s black, only got one ear.”

Hell, I ain’t seen noth­ing like that.”

Well, thanks any­way.” I turned to walk away and he grabbed me by my elbow.

Come on in, Hen­ry,” he said, lead­ing me toward his old trail­er. “Tina’s up inside mak­ing daiquiris. Come get you one.”

I turned him down once and then I let myself get pulled inside. As soon as we got up the cin­der block steps and to the door, that boy turned the hose back on those dogs and they all start­ed up again.


That old trail­er smelled like rum. Tina was in the lit­tle kitchen with the blender going. She was wear­ing an old Bön Jovi tee-shirt with pink paja­ma pants. I’d only ever seen her wear­ing her Pig­gly Wig­gly out­fit. She turned around when we came in and act­ed like I wasn’t even there.

Baby, make one for Hen­ry, too.” Lon­nie plopped down on the couch and moved a pile of clothes for me to sit down. They had cur­tains over the win­dows and it looked like some hip­py hide­out. There was a shelf on the wall over the TV with about six fiber optic flow­ers in glass cas­es, all plugged in and glow­ing. The sound of those hounds out­side was get­ting to me.

Tina walked over and hand­ed us each a cof­fee mug full of peach daiquiri. “You think you’re Michael Jack­son or some­thing?” she said, nod­ding at my glove.  That’s the most I ever heard her say. She went back to the kitchen, poured her­self one and sat at the lit­tle kitchen nook.

So, Hen­ry,” Lon­nie took a big sip on his drink. “What you been up to late­ly?” He looked over at Tina and they smiled at each oth­er and I fig­ured they knew about me and Mandy.

I start­ed to tell them that I hadn’t been up to a damn thing, but then Lon­nie set his drink down between his feet and grabbed the sides of his head. “Awwww. Shit! Owwww!”

Tina start­ed laugh­ing and Lon­nie just rocked from side to side, cradling his big head. He stopped after a minute and picked his drink back up. “Fuckin’ brain freeze,” he said and start­ed laughing.

I’m just look­ing for my dog,” I said and looked over at Tina. “You seen any stray dogs roam­ing around here?”

She just looked at me and shook her head and I heard a toi­let flush in the hall­way. The door opened and this big fel­low came wad­dling into the room. He walked right past me and sat down in a rock­ing chair at the end of the couch. The smell trailed right after him.

God­damn, Ricky.” Lon­nie start­ed swat­ting at the air in front of his face. “Can’t you shut the fuck­ing door if you gonna do that?”

Ricky just looked over at me with a big grin on his face and didn’t say any­thing. He was wear­ing a yel­low tank top with the words, “Slick Rick” writ­ten on it in mag­ic mark­er. Tina got up and went to the bath­room door to shut it. She came back into the room with some Lysol and start­ed spray­ing it onto Ricky. Lon­nie was laugh­ing and so was Tina, and that man just sat there with a grin on his face and let him­self be sprayed. I could taste dis­in­fec­tant in the back of my throat.

This is my broth­er, Ricky,” said Lon­nie. “Ricky, Henry.”

I nod­ded at him, but he just sat there, grin­ning. Tina brought him a mug. That drink was strong, noth­ing but pure rum, I guessed, and a lit­tle bit of canned peach.

Ricky reached down by the side of the couch and grabbed a big pur­ple bong. He lit up and start­ed suck­ing on it. Tina walked back into the room and poured the rest of the daiquiri from the blender into Lonnie’s mug. She set the blender down on the cof­fee table and sat down on the oth­er side of Lon­nie. Ricky start­ed cough­ing like he was going to die, and then he nudged me on the arm and passed that thing to me. I hand­ed it over to Lon­nie, but he pushed it back over.

C’mon, Hen­ry. Get you some.”

I took a lit­tle puff and it burned me down deep inside. When I blew out the smoke I saw that it was a lit­tle more than I bar­gained for. I start­ed cough­ing and then I hand­ed it on down. The dogs were howl­ing still.

Baby, tell T to knock that shit off,” Lon­nie said, his voice strained through a lung­ful of smoke.

Tina was twirling her hair. “I will not,” she said. “You know he loves play­ing with those dogs.”

Lon­nie exhaled a huge cloud of blue smoke that spread to every cor­ner of the room. “I guess at least I know where he is.”

After a lit­tle while I found myself star­ing at one of those flow­ers on the man­tel. I thought about my old trail­er with­out Mandy in it. Even after a whole week I thought I could still smell her per­fume in there. I felt bad for Bojan­gles. Did she leave him behind because he remind­ed her of me? The pot was mak­ing my head swim and I could hear every­body around me laugh­ing. I remem­ber what Mandy told me about attract­ing low­er company.

I looked over and Tina was count­ing down from ten, look­ing back and forth between Lon­nie and her watch. Lon­nie and his broth­er were both lean­ing for­ward, clutch­ing their cof­fee mugs and watch­ing Tina with big, dumb grins on their faces. I gath­ered that they were going to see who could down a whole mug full of daiquiri first. She fin­ished count­ing and when Lon­nie swung his mug up to his face I heard a dull “clunk” sound.

Lon­nie screamed, “Oww, fuck!” He had his hand on his mouth and I could see blood on his fin­gers. The edge of his cof­fee mug was chipped off and he let it fall to the car­pet. Ricky start­ed laugh­ing and then Lon­nie joined in. He lift­ed up his lip and pushed out his front tooth with his tongue. It lift­ed up just like a trap door open­ing. He grabbed onto the loose tooth and then plucked it out. “God­damn, you see that?” he said, laugh­ing. “That shit hurts.”

Tina ran over to the kitchen and grabbed a roll of paper tow­els. I stood up and moved over to the door. I need­ed to go get my dog.

C’mon,” said Lon­nie through bloody teeth. “Don’t go yet.”

I got to go get my dog, Lon­nie.” I watched Lon­nie hand his tooth to his broth­er, who start­ed exam­in­ing it with his lighter. “Y’all take it easy.”

When I got out­side, I shut off the hose and that boy stood there and watched me walk back to my truck.


I was feel­ing a lit­tle para­noid dri­ving away from there. I got off the high­way and did my dai­ly dri­ve-by down Carter’s Lane. Mandy’s cousins lived down that road, and if she was still around, then that’s where she’d be. I saw a cou­ple of her cousin’s kids stand­ing in a lit­tle plas­tic blue pool, naked as jay birds, splash­ing water on each oth­er, but no sign of Mandy. I stepped on the gas so nobody would see me, and cir­cled around to get back on the main road. I pulled out the beer and set it on the pas­sen­ger seat. It was start­ing to go down good again, and I fig­ured I should drop by Uncle Lee’s house. He’s good com­pa­ny, and lives in a house that he built right onLake­Mau­repas. Dur­ing bet­ter times, me and Mandy would take Bojan­gles out there for the day.

Uncle Lee was sit­ting on his swing just like I fig­ured he would be. It sat at the end of his huge back yard fac­ing the lake. He was hold­ing a sling­shot and watch­ing some ducks mess­ing around in the water. He looked up and called me over.  I sat down next to him and asked him how he was doing.

Smells like you done missed the wag­on,” he said. “Might as well,” he nod­ded his big head toward the ground. There was a big tin tub at his feet full of iced-down wine cool­ers. I grabbed a blue one.

What the hell you doing with a sling­shot, Uncle Lee?”

What the hell you doing with one glove on?”

I asked him about the sling­shot again.

I’m pro­tect­ing the chasti­ty of these love­ly bitch ducks,” he said, draw­ing on his wine cool­er. His hair was long and sil­ver, stained a lit­tle yel­low from fifty years of smok­ing. He was wear­ing the same blue over­alls that he always wore. I think he put them on the day he retired from the plant, and nev­er took them off again.

I drank my drink and watched the ducks.

You know any­thing about duck sex?” he said.

I told him that I was out of the loop.

Well, ducks don’t tend to make love,” he said, pulling his pack of Lark’s from his pock­et and shak­ing a cou­ple out. He lit them both in his cupped hand and gave me one. “The bull duck doesn’t believe in it. No Sir. He’ll just sweep on in from the pret­ty blue sky and fuck her sil­ly. He’ll push her down and just go at it, and then up and fly away. Attack and release. You ever seen it?”

No Sir.”

But the bitch duck is smart, see. She’s got a series of canals inside of her poon­tang, and she can open and close them like valves. So if some goofy ass retard duck rapes her, she can pinch off those valves so his jism doesn’t get to where it needs to go. And if she wants to have some duck­lings with a par­tic­u­lar stud, well, then she’ll pinch them valves the right way so that his mess gets to her hon­ey pot.”

So how do you know which ducks are the ones that she wants to have babies with or not?”

I don’t,” he said, scratch­ing his head. “But they’re all rapists.”

I didn’t ask Uncle Lee how he knew so much about duck sex. I asked him if he’d seen Bojan­gles and reached down and grabbed anoth­er blue drink.

He ain’t come around here yet. Don’t tell me you miss­ing that dog.”

I told him briefly what was what and I was aware that I had to work for some of my words.

Uncle Lee stabbed me with his icy green eyes for a sec­ond and then trained them back on the water. “Boy, why don’t you kick them boots off and stay here for the night. Your old dog ain’t worth a shit.”

It ain’t my dog,” I told him.

I went up to Gayle’s the oth­er day to get some crick­ets and I saw some cow­boy buy­ing her some scratch-offs.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. Three ducks came swoop­ing down and went skip­ping across the water until they glid­ed to a stop near the others.

Uncle Lee reached into his pock­et and came out with a lit­tle round lead ball and slow­ly fit­ted it into the pouch of the sling­shot, care­ful­ly slip­ping his arm through the brace to grip the han­dle. “You got to get your head on right, Hen­ry,” he said, pinch­ing the ball in place and pulling those rub­ber straps back just a bit.

The sun was get­ting low­er on the water, and it wouldn’t be long before it start­ed going pink. I watched some moss dance in the breeze over the water and slugged the rest of my drink.

Look it,” said Uncle Lee.

One of the new ducks was ruf­fling his feath­ers and cir­cling around a female, croak­ing and car­ry­ing on.

I stood up.

You stay here tonight,” he said. “You can drink all you want.”

I’m just going to the bath­room,” I said, and start­ed walk­ing toward his big house.

You gonna want to see this,” he called after me, but I walked into his front door and slipped out the back.

I pulled into the Pig­gly Wig­gly and parked fac­ing­Main Street­so I could see down the road in either direc­tion. I saw Sher­iff Thi­bodeaux rest­ing on his cruis­er and flirt­ing with the cheer­lead­ers at Frost Top, but I was see­ing two of him. I need­ed to sit still for a bit. I put the radio on and Buck Owens was singing about hav­ing a tiger by the tail. I thought that I didn’t have shit by the tail. I hoped Bojan­gles was okay. I hoped he hadn’t got­ten in anoth­er fight and had his oth­er ear ripped off. I opened anoth­er beer and watched the folks stream­ing out of the store in my side mir­ror. After a while I saw Mandy’s cousin come out. I leaned back low so she wouldn’t see me and watched her. She was in a hell of a hur­ry and her arms were full of gro­ceries. When she got close to my truck I saw her look up and we made eye con­tact in the mir­ror. I got out then because I saw her turn­ing around.

Hey, Clau­dia,” I said, jog­ging up to her. “Let me give you a hand.”

I don’t need no help,” she said, tuck­ing the bags up against her like it was a baby she was try­ing to protect.

I moved in again to help her out, but she turned away and when she did, a big case of dia­pers fell on the concrete.

Dammit, Hen­ry! Look what you done made me do.”

She leaned down to scoop up the dia­pers, set­ting down her gro­cery bag to do so. I could see a box of Q‑tips and some Lit­tle Debbie’s stick­ing out of the bag. I just stood there look­ing down at her and then I noticed that I still had a beer in my hand.

Where’s Mandy?” I said.

Why should I tell you?” She got the dia­pers posi­tioned on top of the gro­cery bag and then she stood up.

Because,” I said. “I need to know.”

Clau­dia stood there look­ing at me like I was some­thing foul behind the bars at the zoo. I saw her look at the beer in my hand.

Where is she?”

She ain’t avail­able so you might as well just go to Harry’s and find you a girl that deserves you.”

She left some of her momma’s stuff behind, some rings and pic­tures.”  I saw her look at me and I knew she didn’t believe me. I could tell that she knew much more than I ever would. “Just tell me so I can mail it all to her.”

Good­bye, Hen­ry.” She walked on past me to her old bro­ken down piece of shit.

At least tell me who she went off with,” I hollered after her. “Was it that shit kicker?”

I watched her put the bags in the back seat and then stop and look at me before she got in. “If you come by my house ever again, I’ll have you arrested.”

I watched her get in and dri­ve off and I threw my beer at the car. It banked off the fend­er, but I fig­ured I was the only one who even saw or heard it.

I got back in the truck then and looked around on the seat for anoth­er beer, but I couldn’t find any. I popped the seat up and just about crawled up under there, but there was noth­ing left. I got back behind the wheel and slapped myself in the face. I was going to need some more beer. I start­ed to get out of the truck, but Sher­iff Thibodeaux’s cruis­er pulled into the lot and parked right in front of me.  I looked ahead and saw him look­ing back at me through his wind­shield, and I thought, here we go again. He got out and came on over.

You all right, Hen­ry?” he said, lean­ing into my window.

I’ve been bet­ter, Charlie.”

You think you ought to be dri­vin’ around town right now, Henry?”

I’m look­ing for my dog. You seen him, Charlie?”

No,” he said, lean­ing down to get a bet­ter view of the inside of my cab. “I ain’t seen your dog.”

I knew that I wasn’t giv­ing him a whole lot of options and so I just let him have it. I told him about Mandy being gone and that I need­ed to find our dog. He asked me why I was only wear­ing one glove and I told him that, too. He nod­ded along while I began to con­vince myself that I would find Bojan­gles and the three of us would have a tear­ful reunion when she came rolling up tomor­row. He just looked in on me and I could tell by his eyes that he knew some­thing, too. Jesus, I thought. Every­body knows the score but me. “I got to find that dog,” I said.

Look, Hen­ry,” he said, stand­ing back up and look­ing around the lot. “I tell you what I’ll do. I’ll go get you some cof­fee from inside, and I want you to sit here and wait this one out, okay?” He leaned back on the door of the truck and wait­ed for me.

Yeah. Okay, Char­lie. Thanks.”

As soon as he got in the store, I cranked my truck up and kicked it in reverse, slam­ming hard into a parked Sub­ur­ban. I turned around and saw that the truck I had hit had a horse trail­er hooked up to it and peo­ple in the park­ing lot were look­ing at me. I didn’t wait around. I hauled ass for­ward and clipped the front of the Sheriff’s cruis­er. When that hap­pened, one last gold­en can shot out from under the seat and I reached down and clutched that thing like a trophy.

I coast­ed down that long grav­el dri­ve and flipped my brights on. As I turned into my dirt turnoff, the head­lights swept across the yard and caught old Bojan­gles sit­ting on the con­crete steps lead­ing up to my front door. His eyes were twin­kling back at me like two blur­ry blue stars. I cut the engine and sat there, watch­ing him in the head­lights. I won­dered where he’d been. I fig­ured he was hun­gry and I tried to remem­ber if I had any­thing in the fridge. She’d real­ly left him high and dry. Look­ing at him look­ing back at me, I could see he real­ly need­ed me. I was all he had in this world. I couldn’t stand to look at his dis­fig­ured, stretched-out shad­ow on my front door and so I shut off the head­lights. I pulled her pic­ture off the dash and threw it down to the floor­board. That’s when I heard a car turn off the high­way and start creep­ing up toward my place. I got out of the truck then, and went and sat down next to Bojan­gles on the steps. I pulled him to me and held him against my chest, and we sat there togeth­er, lis­ten­ing to the sound of crick­ets, and those tires coming.

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2 Responses to Lost and Found, fiction by Benjamin Soileau

  1. Maria D says:

    Great sto­ry! Very well imag­ined and dra­ma­tized. I espe­cial­ly like the scene at Lonnie's place and the in depth details about duck intercourse.

  2. Rianna says:

    Great piece. Look­ing for­ward to see­ing more of this author's work in the future.

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