Junior: A Novel from the Mind of Erozeno
LOVE AND HOPE AND SCARY DREAMS I
I walked through the valley of darkness; the place where I lost my soul. I tried in vain to find a path to the light.
I saw a pair of headlights shining in the distance. I smelled burning metal and flesh.
The headlights became brighter as they steadily approached.
A burning car stopped within a few feet of me. My father was behind the wheel of Mustang Sally.
He got out of the car, and left the engine running. It was too dark to recognize his passenger.
A Mickey Newbury song blared from the car’s stereo speakers.
“…I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high
I tore my mind on a jagged sky…”
My father approached me. I reached to hug him but he resisted, saluting me. Half of his right arm was missing. The remainder of his sleeve swung limp and impotent.
His chest was full of medals. He wore a necklace of human ears from the victims he killed in Vietnam. Each pair of ears was a confirmed kill; my father’s souvenir from the war.
“I’m sorry son,” he said. “Sorry to leave you and your mother. But duty called, and a man must answer.”
My mother had been pregnant with me when my father was sent to Vietnam.
“Let me tell you,” he continued. “Vietnam is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”
“How about die there?” I joked.
He stared at me.
Some people can tell them and some people can’t.
“…I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in. I watched myself crawlin’ out as I was a-crawlin’ in…”
© 2016, Erozeno
Artwork / Photography © 2016, Erozeno