Ma Peep and the way things are

John Brian Silverio, Flickr CC

John Brian Silverio, Flickr CC

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range blogger, author, radio producer and columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

“It ain’t easy being no Peep,” she said. She puffed a jelly bean flavored e-cigaratte on the porch of the large cardboard box her family has lived in since last March.

“Things come harder for me, fo’ sho. I went up the doctor’s office, nurse says to me ‘I need a vein.’ I says I ain’t got no vein. I’m a bloomin’ marshmallow. And she jus’ gimme that look. That look like you got when you come in here, mister.”

It’s true. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I went to visit Ma Peep. The plastic door creaked open when I knocked, revealing pink and green plastic grass piled throughout the home like the foothills of a mountain range. A chocolate rabbit with one ear sat at a folding card table in the kitchen.

“What it is you want?” he bellowed, the hole where his other ear should have been whistling like a tea kettle.

“I’m from the paper,” I said. “Here to see Ma Peep.”

The rabbit cussed beneath his breath, which smelled like cocoa and chewing tobacco even from the door. “Ma! Man come see you now. Says he from the paper.” He unwrapped a sucker and put it in his toothless mouth.

“Some weather, huh?” I said, waiting.

“Mister, you don’t care ‘bout the weather when you lucky to live 24 hours.”

I kept quiet until Ma Peep arrived. Her labored steps announced her from upstairs. Soon heavy breathing followed with the sound of her sugary wing grasping the banister for support. This would be her only trip down the stairs today.

“So you the fella’ wants to know about how it is down in the basket,” she said, lumbering past me out to the porch, looking me over with the eye on that side of her head. “You step out here and I’ll tell you how it is.”

She sat in a big creaky chair surrounded by piles of sugar, which fell from her bright yellow skin with nearly every motion. After the opening pleasantries, she elaborated.

“I come to believe, son, that we all come from one vat. One big cauldron in some cosmic factory. Sometimes, when the morning light come in, I remember my sisters. We all come in attached, like one. But that was a long time ago.”

“What happened to them?”

“They’s gobbled up. One by one. I got put up on the shelf, ran off with rabbit. Been here ever since. Rabbit, he worked down in the mine until his ear got gnawed off. He ain’t been the same. Me, I used to take in the laundry from the cereal toys, but they stopped comin’ ‘round while back. That’s when I picked up all this weight. Doc says I got diabetes, but I don’t know. I’m already all sugar. Ain’t got no legs or arms.”

“What do you hope for?”

“I’s hope, when my time comes, I know what to do. Most folks don’t know they edible, but Peeps know that right off. Maybe I get to see my sisters, maybe I wake up back in the vat, I don’t know. I just know that it goes on. You just got to keep going.”

“It doesn’t seem fair,” I said.

“Son, I see a big, sweet world out there. I knows my eyes is made of sugar, but I still see that world shining through. It’s all for a reason. You just wait, child. You’ll see.”

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This post first appeared in the Sunday, April 5, 2015 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

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