"Why did he do it, Gramps?"
The man sighed. No amount of education
or experience could prepare someone for this. "When your daddy
came back, he couldn't grasp the fact of what he'd done." He
cleared his throat and spat. "What he'd been made to do. He'd
sit for hours in his hickory rocker on the front porch."
"He made that," the boy said,
pride in his voice.
"He did. He sat in that rocker,
staring wide-eyed over the farm as if he'd never known it. He
couldn't hold onto a conversation; couldn't hang onto the ideas that
swirled around his head like golden threads just out of his reach. Do
"A little." The boy pictured
his father, poised behind a computer monitor, pressing a joystick to
send bombs raining down over neighborhoods and onto buildings full of
people just setting down to their dinner. He wondered if they liked
fried chicken, where his father had been, and the apple pie his
grandfather managed to coax from the oven every once in a while.
The man studied a monarch resting on
the flower of a milkweed plant. "Every time his mind lit on
something and settled into it, flapping its wings open and closed
like that butterfly over there, it just took off all over again and
"Why you think they call them
"I don't rightly know, son."
The man put a hand on the shoulder of the boy who was now his son.
"We're just two lonely sons of bitches, ain't we?"
They turned their minds to things more
easily understood: butterflies, of course, and the carrying of water
to the cows waiting patiently in the pasture.
After the last bucket had been emptied
into the trough, the man sighed and rested on a rock to watch the
Tomorrow his son would go on trial for
the murder of his wife and the hickory rocker, rocking emptily upon
the front porch, would be destroyed.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+
Labels: Fiction, Trifecta Writing Challenge