Monday, Aug 31st 2020

A bead of sweat dropped off Fred’s nose onto the homemade bomb. His knees were damp in the pile of amber and brown leaves. His hands felt as though he had thick gloves on covered in oil as he fumbled with the wiring one last time. His lungs filled with the cool air and then he blew dust out of the hole in the ten-foot stone wall. Dogs barked an alert on the other side. A radio transmission crackled and a spotlight shone over Fred’s black ski-mask covered head as he stuffed earplugs in. He lit the fuse, forced the charge into the hole, and his feet began to try to catch up with his mind. A siren joined the muffled cacophony of foot pattering, heavy breathing, dogs barking, shots cracking and bullets striking the earth behind him and splintering the tree trunks around him. Inches from death, yet he hadn’t felt this alive in years. Then the shockwave tripped Fred up and ringing alone replaced the hideous symphony.

Friday, May 15th 2020

Laughter mixed with cigarette smoke found its way out of Odette’s mouth as it often did when Fred did an impression of the President. “Tremendous win,” he enunciated. He was trying to read her green/grey eyes. Was she…mad at him and about to tell him why in so many words? Relaxed and maybe even a little aroused? He had no fucking clue. That’s what was so vexing yet alluring about the woman. She let him wonder for a few seconds more for dramatic effect before unleashing a torrent of insults at him, his character, and his family in at least three languages. He was almost relieved that one of his guesses was correct, but it brought him small solace against the barrage of emotional missiles. Then he thought, maybe she’s just messing with me, she can’t mean that! Yet she did. In her heart of hearts she had pointed out a good number of devastating flaws that he had and his mother, aunt, and father all bore. His eyes focused on the (fake? he assumed) plant in the corner of the room.

“Odette” … she hated it when he said her name in basically any context. Then he returned fire in kind until he brought her to her emotional knees and a tear formed in her left eye. He was satisfied, but also mortified. He was better equipped to handle such a barrage due to his many friends and solid family whereas she was nearly a lone wolf at this point–he knew this all too well. She put the cigarette into the ashtray half-heartedly as she always did and the smoke continued to rise from the abandoned cigarette above the purplish lipstick-stained filter. He had just ruined his chances of hooking up with her that night and felt slightly defeated, but also dizzy and warm all of the sudden.

She looked at him dead eyed and said, “You look pale as shit, what’s your sugar at?” He blinked his eyes and felt around for his kit. She picked it up from the table and handed it to him. He tested–342. He loaded up a shot of insulin and gently stabbed it into his side. A blessing and a curse, this mortal act always brought them back to square one and erased all scars from previous fighting. She came and sat on his lap. “Do you want coffee,” she asked.

“Yeah, later,” he said and began kissing her shoulder and neck.






IMG_2540send in the clowns with the shoes that are brown

surrounded by the hoodlums and the rats

in the city where people beat on each other with baseball bats

fractured mind in the warm dark womb

above ground graves tied in with leaves to tombs

body language says it all

people shooting up Wal-Marts in malls

and they say they’re not political?

or am I mis-remembering.




Jim Hamm 6/12