Scapegoat

“It’s like this,” he said. He said it real slow. Then he said, “Pass me that bottle.” The bottle held rye, a nice drink. Smooth and savory from single grain. He drank, but not too much, just a sip clean and neat. Then he put the glass down. The glass he’d poured into, his favorite glass, the gift of a friend no longer his friend. He let the liquor sweeten his disposition and continued. “I’m a scapegoat,” he said. “They blame me.” “Who blames you?” “They all blame me. They drove me off, told me don’t come back and I never did, because I’m a good boy. Doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad if they make you a scapegoat. That’s what they want you to be. That’s what they need you to be. That’s what they make you.” He took another sip. “Can’t change it.” Then he said, “Thank […]

Read more »

Champion

“I remember,” he said. “Yeah, I remember.” He leaned into the engine compartment of his old pickup. By old we’re talking decades, a 1985 model now well into the twenty first century. That’s old. Trouble started with the misfiring of a couple cylinders. He didn’t know how many. He didn’t know which ones, but he knew what to do. He’d have to pull them, check them, dress them and put them back clean and ready to fire, the spark plugs, all eight of them in an engine with half the emission controls disconnected. It didn’t matter in a state without vehicle emission inspection. He’d lived in California. That was a different story, but this wasn’t that story and it wasn’t California. It was November in a state with snow and ice early this year and the truck began misfiring because he pushed too hard on warm up and the after-market […]

Read more »