For three days now, he awoke to find an empty coffee pot.
For three days he had been forced to brew a fresh pot before being able to sit on the steps, gather his thoughts and become human again, in the perfect warmth of the morning sun.
This particular morning he watched her pour it.
Not quite all of it. A small sip remained at the bottom, just enough to tease his craving.
He was sure that in some places this was grounds for divorce.
Not here though. Here he was left with only two choices.
Love or a bludgeon.
Schools are cancelled and the streets are closed. I’m sweating like a pig in the high noon sun. The whole town lined up early to welcome back its fine young heroes. It’s homecoming day and they’re as close to heroes as we’re gonna get around here anyway. They’ve come from all walks, because everyone loves a parade.
The whole thing starts with the motorcycle cops doing tricks. Their pimped, black and pink cruiser lets us know how aware they are of breast cancer. And I never knew the department around here had so many horses, can’t imagine what they’re all for
The band strikes up the march. Everyone’s little girl is dressed up like a cheerleader. They jump and wave when they play the fight song. Sweat and sunscreen burn my eyes, and the child, not my own informs me of how hot it is.
Shriners adorned with fezzes zoom by in tiny cars. A steady stream of politicians and business men roll by in convertibles. Our parents generation might have built floats, we’re somehow content with couple of yahoos on a flatbed. The only ones with any style are corporate shills the freaking Krishnas. Up and down the avenue smells like boiled peanuts and diesel fumes.
The local ROTC goes by looking smart and sharp and brave. All I see is a string of sad mothers and future corpses. I can’t be the only one. The crowd cheers them by. I doubt the chamber of commerce would put on such a grand display when finished soldiers return from war. They don’t seem to like parades that much
Then, finally, the football team comes by. Our darling boys, the stars of show. For them it seems just the business of the day, half of them fidgeting with smartphones. Savor your moments boys. The hard truth is for at least one of this is gonna the best day of your life.
When it’s all over all that’s gonna be left are food wrappers and horse shit.
Everyone loves a parade.
One morning, as I walked along, I heard a dog barking. It was an incessant, aggravating bark. When I approached the yard I saw him standing on his porch. He just stood there looking out at the road barking a constant uninflected cadence.
I turned to walk on and then I saw, sitting beyond the pickets that bordered the property, a blind dog. Eyes sewn shut, living in a world of smells, and sounds. It sensed my passing and turned its head to face me, following me as his companion’s barks echoed all around.
I was struck by the thought of the loneliness of living in darkness like the blind dog. I left wondering if the one dog barked to let the other know it was not alone.
Probably not. That barking dog was probably just an asshole.