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J E Thill

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Stumble Home
By J E Thill
Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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This is not an excerpt.

A plastic ring hung from his finger, dangling a Schlitz and tapping a poor mountaineer tune on the side of his leg. Barry had a hallmark and a benchmark, stating, in brief, that his life was exhausted.

Not that he thought it was over, but Barry could tell his soul was too tired to drive, that his fingers, dangling 12 ounces, were more useful for the factory than the typewriter.

Horns honked by as he slogged through the slush, waiting for time to get him. He could feel it climbing into his back pocket, digging for his wallet, eating up the last of his receipts and pull tabs.

He looked into a red lit window, watching fat children scream at their parents. Barry liked them for their power, the mastery they held over their elders who repeated; "That's enough!"
It would never be enough for the slovenly children and their college educated parents as they wept into Swedish sleep pillows wondering what they had done right.

The cement continued on and Barry followed it, wiping granulated salt from the rim of his beer, fixed there by a trip into the snow bank.

He was just tired. He was just frustrated with glowing blue porn on street lights and drunken injection mold co-eds walking into street lamps and drunken football arms.

His soul was worn at the heels but he felt if he just had enough newspaper he could stuff the bottoms and walk on them a little longer.

After a collision with his knees and another missed appointment with his childhood day-planner, Barry brought himself into the dock of his efficiency.

The door swung open and a woman he did not recognize lay on the futon in his living room. He had met her, but she looked different. She looked loud and drunk and mean and tired...of him.
She brought a brassy head of hair around on him like a Colt .45 and let lead fly, word after word slamming into his chest until air came to hard to stay.

He was back on the street and the sky became mean and sinister, became a shadow to hide warmth from him. Stumbling and panting, there was a school house; little and red

Barry decided to stay there, pulling himself up to the bushes with his tongue. He figured the door was locked so he scratched at the boards with his nails and his frustration and the temperature dropping in his chest.

The door had been open and he had frozen on the side. Children walking past the park, on their way to classes, saw the man sleeping in the rut he had kicked together for warmth, having finally carved out a place to fit in.






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