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Wellsville by Louise Krug | Word Riot
Creative Nonfiction

July 15, 2014      

Wellsville by Louise Krug

Nick asked me why I don’t ever write a story about the pony that got the erection in Wellsville. I say I don’t know. It is an entertaining story, and I tell it to people sometimes. But then I think about how funny happenings don’t necessarily make good stories, and then I remembered that the really interesting thing about that pony story was that someone stole it from me. Nick was at a party and listening to this man talk, and the more the man talked, the more Nick realized it sounded identical to the story I had told him and that he had heard me tell to people. He mentioned this to the man telling the story. They were in a dark apartment building listening to someone’s friend’s band play, and sort of huddled in a hallway. The man telling the story to Nick and some other people was coincidentally my ex-boyfriend, whom Nick sort-of knew. My ex was claiming the story happened to him — that he was the newspaper reporter (who had actually been me) assigned to write a fluff piece on a pony being taken to a nursing home in the small Kansas town of Wellsville. As the pony was being led around a circle of wheelchairs to be pet by elderly men and women, it got an erection who no one seemed to notice but the photographer and me. That’s really all that happened, which is why I never thought about writing a story about it, and why it’s mainly a thing to say when you are with some people and talking about strange jobs you used to have or nursing homes, or ponies. When Nick said, “Hey, didn’t that happen to Louise?” my ex-boyfriend looked surprised but then, as he knew Nick and I were dating, sheepishly laughed and said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
     When Nick told me all this the next day, it got me thinking about my ex-boyfriend and what it was like when we were together, and how he never seemed like a person who would do that, tell a story that wasn’t his. I also thought about how my ex-boyfriend is a funny guy, and probably thought no harm would come of stealing my story and telling it to some people he didn’t know that well. I myself have never done that — I’ve embellished my own stories, sure, but I’ve never straight up lifted any. Then I remembered how I tried to get back together with my ex-boyfriend after I had these brain surgeries that made me look very different and walk with a cane. My ex-boyfriend came to see me once I was able to live on my own again — he came whenever I invited him over to my little apartment and listened to me while I drank too much wine and stumbled around. Until one night when I said he should come over for dinner because I was making spaghetti, my grandmother’s recipe with button mushrooms and beef, and I waited and waited and stirred the sauce, but he never showed up, and that was the last I saw him.

LouiseAuthorPhotoAbout the author:

Louise Krug is the author of Louise: Amended (2012), a memoir about the brain surgeries she had when she was 22. She teaches creative writing and composition at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Some of her recent work has appeared in Parcel and Huffington Post. She has a collection of essays forthcoming from 99:The Press in 2015.

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