wrong and it had eaten the left ear off his head
and burned a savage melted scar down his neck
to the middle of his back. There wasn’t enough
ear nub remaining to hang sunglasses on. The
hair around the ear was gone, too, and the scar
on his neck showed above his collar. Three blue
teardrops done in jailhouse ink fell in a row
from the corner of the eye on his scarred side.
folks said the teardrops meant he’d three times
done grisly prison deeds that needed doing but
didn’t need to be gabbed about. They said the
teardrops told you everything you had to know
about the man and the lost ear just repeated it.
He generally tried to sit with his melted side
to the wall.
Ree said, “Come on, you know where he’s
at, don’t you?”
“and where a man’s at ain’t necessarily for
you to know, neither.”
“But, do you—”
“ain’t seen him.”
Ree tried to hold teardrop’s gaze but
blinked uncontrollably. it was like staring at
something fanged and coiled from too close
without a stick in hand.