“If it’s too damn silly to be said, it’s sung,”
was Olson’s standard excuse for not going to musicals.
He was a grizzly bear’s man, spit chaw, knew how to use
a chain saw, wore flannel, crushed beer cans between his hands,
preferred to piss outside, even in a sleet storm.
How he came to marry the daintiest girl in town, no one knew

except for Old Admiral Duggan who wouldn’t hand
a handicapped toddler an umbrella in a rainstorm.
Duggan had purchased all the land in the subdivision for a song
after the Korean War, then made more than the IRS knew
selling it to the man responsible for the longest-running musical
in Superiorpace Opera House history. Well it’s not correct use

to say “responsible,” I suppose, since far as Duggan knew
the man didn’t write one chord in a song,
had never shown the ability to write anything in his own hand
save checks. Let’s say he financed the longest-running musical
in Superiorpace Opera House history, which, incidentally, was Use
It or Lost It: A Tale of Extravagance, in the tradition of Sturm

und Drang 18th-century German playwriting, save for the use
of meta-theatrical dramaturgy whereby the actors knew
they were acting, and sometimes badly, and purple-veined storm
clouds and pseudo-sun were projected onto a video screen, the final song
crooned by the heroine slash villain while she held the hand
of the cowboy she’d been trying to kill, accompanied by musical

flourishes that included an amplified kazoo, electronic storm
remixes, dueling banjos, and from the Afro-Cuban tradition, hand-
held cabasas. Anyway, Old Duggan wasn’t musical,
but green’s green, however it sounds. He kept one plot of land to use,
a secluded parcel that, when all was said and done, he knew
he’d die in, building a sprawling ranch in the style of a Song

dynasty imperial palace, with carved doors, latticed windows, musical
archways that let in afternoon light, and, for his own personal use,
an indoor pond stocked with fresh trout. No one even knew
Duggan was still alive, until Olson, who as a teenager used to storm
around the neighborhood looking for porch ornaments to break, one song-
less summer morning, convinced one of the Juarez twins to give him a hand

job. Though she had sung second tenor in the choir, she could use
her form for less musical purposes, and deep in the woods, mid-storm
and -gyration, Duggan, hand in his robe, saw. That’s how he knew.