Today the Pandemic Begins to End

The day was partly cloudy, barely in the forties, and the man had parked on the backside of Gillette Stadium where they usually parked for Revolution games. He followed the signs directing him toward the Putnam Club entrance and thought, Today the pandemic begins to end for me. Other people were coming from the glassContinue reading “Today the Pandemic Begins to End”

Murder Ward

The man’s son was dressed in his white shirt and tie and sitting at a desk in Paraguay; the man viewed him on screen through Facebook Messenger. His son coughed hard. “You sound sick,” said the man. “I’m not sick, Dad,” said Elder Laws. “I just went shopping, and they took my temperature and IContinue reading “Murder Ward”

The Wormwood and the Gall

M: Does anyone actually know someone, anyone, who had COVID and got really sick or died? *** G: Hey, B! P told me your brother is in tough shape.B: Yeah. Just went on ECMO. This might be it for him.G: OMG. I’m so sorry. He can’t be very old.B: Early fifties. Like me. *** LJ:Continue reading “The Wormwood and the Gall”

The Last Rose of Summer

Dr. Francis Thornton was the seventh lineal male to bear that name, his father, Reverend Francis Thornton, being the sixth. It was assumed, or at least the younger Francis believed it was assumed, that he was to follow in his father’s steps into the presbytery. His father was a towering man—in body, spirit, and intellect.Continue reading “The Last Rose of Summer”

More Value than the Sparrows

He visited the scene twenty-four hours after the shooting stopped, and thereafter, one detail burned itself deep into his mind. Over the years, that detail had grown nonsensical, a cosmic joke told by a darkly comic creator. He could revisit the shade of that moment anytime he pleased, and for the first two decades, heContinue reading “More Value than the Sparrows”

She Cannot Forget You

Reverend Mrs. Clute carried a secret. Or rather, it was a secret growing inside her. To be clear, it was not her second child who was indeed growing inside her and becoming obvious to others. No, this baby boy was not her secret, and yes, she was certain it was a boy–she had had aContinue reading “She Cannot Forget You”

An Inside Joke by Me for Myself

The first time I saw the boy, he had soiled his pants, and I says to him, I says, “Boy, you done soiled your pants” and he says to me, “I ain’t the only one that done that–they was others who did it under fire at Perryville cuz we was all green,” and I says,Continue reading “An Inside Joke by Me for Myself”

The Virtue of Slaughter

Swift, blazing flag of the regiment, Eagle with crest of red and gold, These men were born to drill and die. Point for them the virtue of slaughter, Make plain to them the excellence of killing And a field where a thousand corpses lie. –Stephen Crane, “War is Kind” The table was covered in bloodContinue reading “The Virtue of Slaughter”

The Ballad of Johnny Mather Sloan

[Sing to the tune of the “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”] Young Johnny Mather Sloan Lived on the Texas range. Stole a horse when six years old; His brother thought him strange. Y’all never heard the tale of the boy soldier from the heart of Texas. Damn shame. That boy and his story are asContinue reading “The Ballad of Johnny Mather Sloan”

Angel Glow

As the light faded, so did the sound of artillery, and the musket fire was only sporadic. The sounds they had been masking all day now pierced the night–the moans, howls, screams, and curses. The man was sitting up against a tree, his left thigh useless from a wound, his right shoulder blade also immobileContinue reading “Angel Glow”