Billy’s Boots

“Be a man.” Yes, they are all men. I am almost ashamed to be of the same species. Great cautionary tale.

Within A Forest Dark

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At night, Billy sits with Brother John and the guys at their WAR house in the Panhandle as they watch the videos of the National Socialist Party. Billy always sits on the scratchy green tweed sofa that reminds him of his Granny’s but Brother John’s smells like earth and rain and the chocolate smell of mildew.

It is Hitler’s birthday. Mother Beulah has made a Nazi cake in the colors of the flag. She sets it on the oilcloth. Her arms are exposed and giggling like Granny’s. He imagines them soft to the touch. In the center of the sheet cake she had written in a thin chocolate scrawl: Happy Birthday, Hitler! Mama Beulah has arthritis and her hands weren’t steady but Brother John doesn’t fault her.

Billy gets a corner piece of the cake, where the piped chocolate icing has bunched…

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