The Home, A Desert

by Sean Ennis

By all means find unconditional love if you can, but the dogs can be too much. I have a list of errands to run that are completely invented. I have a place where I smoke that doesn’t allow pets. They have their cozy cages. Grace is busy or asleep.

I’ll say for now, it’s unclear what is terrorizing me. I have spoken to something I shouldn’t. The anatomy of some mornings is gross.

We painted two rooms—blue and white respectively—and the house still smells of turpentine. For a day, we all had headaches and short hallucinations. And now my son, Gabe, enters the picture. We painted his room blue, by request. We strung LED lights on the ceiling, by request. We leave his thirteen year old self mostly alone, by request, though the room is lit like some sort of sex den and his grades are falling. It’s clear he will be a handsome, probably successful, man once his anger calms down.

We painted the new home office white—Grace  taped and I rolled and Grace used a small sponge on the corners. It’s fun for only about half the time. The impulse now seems to be to fill the room with plant life, art, and surge protectors. Dali’s The Temptation of Saint Antony features prominently. Have you seen it? A naked Egyptian, armed with a crooked wooden cross, fends off spindly-legged elephants, among other demons. I chose it for its realism.

Cont’d To-Do List: Reorient. Arm yourself, mentally.

Grace came into the kitchen last night holding a baseball bat, saying, “What’s the deal?” The deal is protective, not sporting. The deal here is we agreed, no guns—Gabe sleepwalks. The deal is the painted house should be kept safe and knees could buckle and jaws could even become unhinged. I could swing it.

I reminded her of the deal and she kissed me. It was not a come-hither kiss. She said, “I thought I heard something under the bed and there was this.”.

The baseball bat is from when Gabe played little league, a weapon for a five year old. The gun I want is the Mark XIX Desert Eagle, I think, used by the Israeli military and popularized by many rappers. I have no idea what makes it a good gun. But mocked as I was, I do not spend this morning pricing DEs ($1800). I put snickerdoodles in the oven for the dog. I wipe my hands on my jeans and think about buying an apron.

Athanasius wrote about Saint Antony and so did Flaubert. Breughel and Bosch also painted him. He is most famous for his fight with demons, but he did other good works.




Sean Ennis is the author of CHASE US: Stories (LIttle A) and other pieces from this project have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, HASH, BULL, X-R-A-Y, Bending Genres, and The Disappointed Housewife. More of his work can be found at