AMP. Always Electric.

Volume 1, No. 1

Furious Curses

My mother would curse me as she left the house, and call on the Furies. Why would she curse me? She doesn’t usually use profanity. Maybe she would be imitating what she perceived as my own coarse language. She knows I can express myself bluntly at times, and I am an angry person. She is much more zen than I am—she is basically a Buddhist—but she might see the value in saying things strongly. “Damn you,” she might say as she was walking out the door. But that doesn’t sound like her at all. She wouldn’t say “damn” or even “darn,” unless she was talking about dogs, specifically our pet dogs. “Those damn dogs,” she might say to express her displeasure with all of the leaping fur that confronted her every day. And then she would call on the Furies to take vengeance on the dogs. Not on me, though I had my dealings with the Furies more days than not, when I was living at home. Many times, the Furies would descend on me through the air, for these were flying spirits, and I would run like a rabbit to avoid them, except that I could not run that fast. I ran as fast as an adolescent boy, but I was no match for the swift-winged nasties that pursued me. Sooner or later, they would catch me and dig their talons into me, and then I would be the one cursing. “Dagnabbit!” I would shout, “Hell take these Furies!” But all my mother would need would be help in controlling the dogs, with their panting tongues and whirling paws. She wouldn’t hesitate to call on the Furies to take care of the pets. That way, she wouldn’t have to leave the house, cursing.

Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the books Violent Outbursts, Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in New York. He received a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.