also Losing the War, part two
Did you get my check? Be sure and cash it. Keep the money there.
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You should see my Bar. We are leaving here Wednesday nite. He was in country four months when the letter came. He read it again out back of the radio shack. Down the hill afternoon sunlight glinted off the flooded paddies.
He took a deep breath, tore the letter to pieces, and tossed it into the wind. That night, after the bars closed, he missed curfew and bartered his wedding ring to stay in the village. Before dawn, on a pallet in a tiny hooch, the girl moved against him again. He felt instant rage. He edits Camroc Press Review and is coauthor of Crack! His shorter work has been published widely, both online and in print. His latest flash collection is Wince. We face each other across a mahogany table, our counsels assessing strategy. Mine has questions: Do you eat out?
How often? Do you drink alcohol? How much? Do you have a phone? Do you use drugs? Pages of interrogatories to wear you down. No windows in this room, not even rush hour noise can penetrate these walls. The fluorescence is best suited to anguish, a room where no one wants to be. The questions pound at you and I wonder how it has all come down to this. My lawyer beats you with our terrible secrets until you sit still, defeated.
I despise this end, this finality. I would much rather see something familiar—your gleeful rage, for instance. If I had that butcher knife, I would slide it across the table and you could come swishing it at me again, making your primal animal sounds to startle this room. I could reach again for that blade and once more see the fury in your gray eyes soften and fade as blood begins to flow.
Across from the tagged junkyard, traffic rolls in, rolls out of the jets. Radio crackles, sirens, lights, blank-eyed stares. Nobody knows nothin. The kid in a red Bulls jacket flashes a grin.
100 years: Women in the Armed Forces
They walked all day and sometimes into the night, fleeing the Russians. After awhile she quit asking where they were going or how long they had to walk. One afternoon an American soldier offered them a ride in a small open car. One night after dinner he told her he was moving to Toronto. They talked about it calmly, civilly, then all at once she was on her knees in front of the sofa, looking up at him. In the expanding silence she felt her mind dissolving. She wanted to hug his legs, lay her head in his lap, bite him maybe.
Arizona by Barry Basden
But all she did was take hold of the crease in his pants and press the soft cloth between her thumb and forefinger. The wall clock chimed the half hour. She looked into his face and tried to think. Then something broke loose and she was sobbing.
Tell me what you want. He watched her, not moving, looking like some kind of trapped animal. She let go of his trousers and sat back on her heels.
There was light from the hallway shining on carpet, the ticking clock, his shoelaces neatly tied. Photo Source: edu. Barry Basden lives with his wife and two yellow labs in the Texas hill country. His writing has appeared in many fine places.