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  • Jimmy Broccoli

The Great Strength of the Totalitarian State is that It Forces Those Who Fear It to Imitate It

“Hando, show me how to load that gun”, I tells and ask him

“that gun”, I says to him – “the one displayed on the wall”

“that one” he asks me and I tells him “yes”

…and he tells me “okay” –

“Tells me about how you and mum met”, I say and ask –

“long ago, I fell in love with your mother –

hair golden like sunshine, aye –

an attitude and demeanor to knock any man off his high-horse –

she’d paint the air and the sky blue –

and she meant everything to me” – he says – and I tells him –

“I miss her, too”. And he turns away for a moment –

because he has to

“I want to learn how to shoot the gun – that gun”, I tells him –

and he says “okay”

“her smile was enough to make a man weak in the knees –

the kind of lass men can’t say ‘no’ to – impossible –

your mother was that kind of woman”, he tells me

and I hold the 9 mm in my hand and listen to his story –

“I want to be famous – famous for something bad”, I tells him –

and it’s like he doesn’t hear me –

he’s lost in thought – he’s been lost since it happened –

since it happened to her

“is it from the war?”, I asks him and he tells me “yes” –

“was it a Nazi that fired it?”, I asks him and he tells me “yes”

“124 grain ball” he tells me – and I don’t knows what he is talking about –

“Okay”, I says and I say very little else

“tells me about my mum”, I says and ask,

while polishing the gun with care and with purpose –

“her smile was ice cream and rainbows”, he tells me…

“I wonder how many this gun has killed”, I ponder and thinks aloud –

“I dunno” the man says – “too many, I suppose, most likely”, he tells me

“Cain”, the man tells me – “be careful with that”, he says

…I look at him and smile and says,

“she loved you very much – you were her everything too”…

the man smiles – and looks away – because he has to –

I load the bullets into the gun –

because that is what I do now

the sun is setting and it’s not brilliant or memorable…

“tell me about my mum” I tells him and ask,

as I learn to take aim and prepare for the recoil –

“her hair smelled like apricots on a warm spring day –

and her smile was li…”

his body and what is left of his head lounges sloppily half-on, half-off the living room couch

and I have no more words to say

because I don’t need to say

Photo: Jimmy Broccoli wish his washboard.

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