"...And For None To See, None But Me."- Writings From The Desk Of Leonnard Menifee On Vaunce County And Beyond.

Greetings, friends of FOTS. We're back with a few pieces of fiction from an individual who requests to remain undisclosed. Instead of penning a foreword, I thought I'd leave it up to this anonymous shadow to spill th' beans.  Click their linktree below and have a closer look... 

Happy days, 


"I’m from Appalachia in eastern Kentucky, and I currently live in Germany. I write under two pseudonyms, "Leonnard Menifee" for prose and "Qate Oates" for poetry. I don’t use pen names because I want to maintain my privacy so much as I like the idea of having two additional characters to play with, like bands. Pretty much everything I write takes place in or is tied to Vaunce County, a fictitious place that’s kind of an amalgam of where I grew up and where my dad’s family comes from. Leonnard and Qate are two characters who live there.

I wrote a novel called "Vaunce County Drug Tales: Southerns", which I published in 2019, but apart from that haven’t tried very seriously to publish much of my material. Currently, I make a literature podcast called Doggerel Diaries and am writing a second book."


Herr Ballrag: Where did? 

Tang: Oh, it went to; where did you run off with it, Maitresse? 

Madame Y: It was in your ass where I put it, but I left the room after the aperitif. 

Daag Grimson: And I entered, and it must have been gone, because I immediately shoved–  

Dandy: Yes, we all saw that, but in the interim …  

Wayland: Between the ass and the floor? 

Ms. Hollande: It landed on the floor? 

Colonel Gick: Well it had to unless someone pried it out and beat a smart escape. 

Space Lydia: I was happy as a getting-fucked nun, over there. 

Mr Hollande: But no one ran out of the room, and nobody's accusing you. 

Uriah Nann: Well, you were off your damn tits, but a thief you are not. 

Officer Vivian: Why do we have to focus on what that whore was doing? We all know that. 

Queef Taylorsonson: I didn’t! Where is she? 

Understanding Larry: Look, I got it. 

Sam Stabdick: Got what? 

Slave Reid: I know what you got. 

Mistress Police: Shut up, you, and you too, I saw her run into the bathroom like a troll. 

Inspector Felch: Did he have something in his hand? 

Staggy Jimmy: You were holding something like a toothbrush, right? 

Randette: No, it was a fork, but it wasn’t it. 


Huffy bikes down paths and the crunches that their tires make when they squeeze the pebbles and force them upward in an unstoppable motion that you hear. That I heard. I heard it when Anton rode his Huffy through those woods where the grass is supposed to be blue, isn’t, iridescent instead, when the sun hits it right and it shines in its limpid way.

“The dirt is dirt,” said Anton. “It won’t hurt you.”

I believed him as it sifted over his stout fingers onto my bloody knee. His blue eyes were kindness and disgust. A strawberry, the guys on the baseball team told me it was called. 

We rode to the treehouse on the hill, up the hill behind his parents’ house that was a plot that rose behind dirt packed behind wooden supports that protected a playground where we once tortured a lizard because we heard you could cut off their tails and they’d live.

He did. Like a poor Sephardic Jew, caught under that Spanish horror, poor Sephard the Lizard did suffer, did live.

And there was this one Huffy that was perfect. I saw Sugar Ray Leonard fight Marvelous Marvin Hagler on a Sony television set, 19 inches in diameter, at Anton’s house. His father sat on a beanbag and pretended to read while the rest of us, strung up and stung for kicks, watched the two men dance and hit. His dad once beat him with a hose, and the television set had blue, red and green flags on it, Sony’s Trinitron, and I saw Sugar Ray win and I thought, That is Anton. 

That perfect Huffy, it was black and gold, with a pad situated over the handlebars, colored black,,, gold letters.


I once saw Anton fighting. He had taken it upon himself to try and lick a poorboy named Oreacle, the most terrible of the horrible. Oreacle was big and likely 16. But Anton fought and fought. The poor boy of course won, but Anton got up each time, dusty and bruised with his shirt untucked.

In the treehouse Isaac did not come. When Isaac told me that it was a “ploy” to fake someone out I believed him. But he was too old to come to mine and his brother’s place upon the hill behind where the Moorish Jew was tortured. He scorned. 

Huffys cackled and poked up that hill behind the supports like popcorn!

When you looked up that mount, Anton always in front, you would see us plowing back the dusty earth floor like it didn’t have a bottom.

"Glow Solana"

This story takes place around the city of Solana in Vaunce County, Kentucky. It is July 1973.

The road is black and bright with the full moon’s light, between the up-strung hardwood canopy on both sides of it. His six-foot six-inch frame lumbers and scrapes over the ash-gray road, right down its yellow-veined gullet.

His large, dolloped-out head lolls forward, bobbing and skittering under a bush of wiry hair and beard, like steel wool got disemboweled and pulled out in all directions.

He has no face to reckon for within the black and gray wooly head; on top a small patch of bald white skull faintly reflects moonlight in the opposite direction of Solana.

His hands are massive and soft and reaching to, from his flunk-forward falling-arms, the earth and to what lies below it and below that and forever. His fingers drum upon his stain-hard dungarees, tapping like a metronome or a heartbeat; he moves steady onward, just past where the tiny outpost called Solana flickers – a few lights left on at the post office and the service station. No one’s there so late on this fetid southern evening, bright and dark and hot.


Up above the road and the canopy, Selene belts out her full-throated, lunar scream. Her radiance penetrates the black below, but incompletely, brightening the spaces between the woods with her lunar, white-glassy clarifier.  

It is spacey and dark and silent; the animals climb back into their burrows, suddenly shy on this one bright night.


He slogs onward, and shambles off on a side road to the left of the town’s two buildings, then wanders up another hill on no trail, then down to a valley lake.

The water is sable with a hot-white streak across its velvet surface. He hems too close to the water, and one of his feet drags along the edge, shooting off ripples all the way to the center.

Just where the black brooke that feeds the lake siphons off into the woods, he turns to follow it, and he disappears between two willow trees that guard the entrance to the hardwood gloom.


The boy hangs from the ceiling by a bear trap biting his ankles. His cheeks were always puffy and red, they’d often remarked, but on this night they are sallow and translucent. The blood from his ankles stopped dripping out hours ago and its remnants hang crusty toward his face, seeking below, like red wax drippings on a pale eggshell candle, ever below, immemorial below.

  The boy sleeps.

The floor is dirt in this basement in this cabin in these hardwoods. The toothy trap is affixed to one of the exposed rafters above by chain. A giant white rat rises up on its hind legs to sniff at whether death has passed over the boy; it is joined by vermin of every description. They are all too short to reach him, even the white rat, and so must tumble and break forth upon the earthen floor in hunger’s frenzy.

In the corner is a long deep freezer. It is an alabaster steel appliance wearing stains of tar and filth and blackblood in wispy ribbons and deep smudges. To the left of the deep freeze is a long steel table, and hanging over the table are a saw and knives and a hammer.


The door above rattles shut on metal hinges and a cheap frame, and his lumbering footfalls creak through the wood and the rafters above. The boy stirs.

He descends the pine plank stairs to the basement; when he lurches over the earthen floor it doesn’t make a sound; the insects and the rats scatter into their private doldrums anyway.

He takes a small ladder from the corner opposite the deep freeze and steel table, then walks over to the boy. He mounts the few steps the ladder offers, and reaches over with one arm to hold the boy around his hips. With the other arm he attains the trap and pulls the release. The boy gasps weakly.

He sets him down on the floor, and the boy feebly grasps at his bloody ankles. The skin is tattered and the blood is black; his right tibia lies exposed, and mangled, to the fusty basement air.

The man plods toward the stairs. Under them, he latches onto a contraption, dragging it toward the boy. It is two hardwood chairs attached to one another at their bases. They are affixed in such a way that they face one another seat to seat with about two feet separating them. He pulls the chair contraption toward the middle of the room where the boy is lying, and he picks him up and places him in one of the chairs.

He takes the seat opposite the boy, and stares into his shaky-wide eyes. The boy weeps as he gazes back at the black and gray bush of face, but he stares intently, at no eyes, just wild, setal hair covering all but a small sliver of the man’s face between his eyes.

The man leans forward with his elbows resting on his knees at the level of the boy’s chest. He slowly extends both enormous hands to the boy, and the boy says, … 

He does not tarry; he places his right hand gently around the boy’s supple neck. The hand is so grotesquely large that he can almost touch his middle finger to his thumb. But he cannot, and extends the left hand to the equal and opposite position.

The boy’s eyes are large and wet, and he continues to glare at the fuzzy face in front of him. The man squeezes, mild and slow, increasing the pressure only in tiny, measured intervals. The boy’s breaths get shorter and shorter. Maybe he sees the blood pressure machine at the Walmart pharmacy, where he’d play with his brother and sister, taking turns submitting their tiny biceps to the edgy, plastic grip of the machine as it got tighter and tighter; but the man’s hands are so soft, like a doctor’s or golf claps. 

Inside the bristled hair there are two flickers, until the eyes deep inside the forest of hair seem to ignite, then turn to embers; and with each constriction they grow brighter. And brighter still.

The boy stares, and he says, “You …” and he coughs with the increasing pressure from the soft hands.

The eyes glow brighter, piercing through the pearly hair, as the stranglehold tightens around the boy’s neck, until the radiance becomes blinding. As the boy begins to pass, his own eyelids fall forward, and at that moment the light explodes like a supernova.

The boy writhes seizure-like until he is reduced to the odd jerking spasm, and the man relinquishes his grip.

The man’s eyes continue to shine, illuminating the cabin and spreading outward over the darkling valley outside, for one moment rivaling even Selene on her premier eve, and for none to see, none but me.



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