Thursday, July 06, 2006

Is it a short story? Is it poetry? Is it a poetic attempt to make a story, or a story by a poet? Flash fiction? Nah, just a short short moment.

The Last Thirty Miles

The red rubber sedan is parked where I thought it would be, and Joe Keeper there waiting in the driver’s seat. He’s wearing a black felt beaver, though I believed he’d have his white one on. “How far are we going, Joe?” I know the answer

but like hearing a familiar voice. “Thirty miles, give or take,” I say out-loud in a make-believe Joe-voice while maneuvering my small heavily encumbered frame into the backseat. Once buckled in it’s hardly a minute before

we’re on the highway heading south. Brown bluebonnet patches. I expected to see those this time of year. I remember bringing my children, dressed for Sunday, to the city lake for pictures in the bluebonnets. Real Texans have pictures of their kids. Tommy hated

wearing a tie, what a fighter, what a kicker. And Sue, little Suzy Blue of course, just the opposite. She’d dance in front of the mirror calling herself a princess and yes, what a princess. “Joe, did I ever tell you how beautiful my Sue was?”

Dairy Queen. Always a DQ between here and nowhere, my father use to say. Father’s always say something that sticks or stings. “A dip-cone would be good, Joe. I haven’t had one of those in years.” The last time was before the bluebonnet pictures.

“Got any kids, Joe?” I feel like a kid going somewhere, kind of like an adventure. “Want to play the ABC game, Joe?” Tommy hated that game. “Joe, do you think there’s a heaven?” I think a lot about heaven and reincarnation.

“They say you’re greeted by family members after you die, Joe. Do you believe that?” Hopefully, Tommy and Sue will look just like they did when surrounded by bluebonnets. “If family is there waiting, Joe, then when does reincarnation happen?”

Not angry or scared like they did when I held them under the water. Hundreds of protesters are gathering in front of the gates. I wish it was nighttime. I’d like to see the stars. “Is it true that lethal injection is a lot like drowning, Joe?”

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