Old M1911, the puppy your father handed you at breakfast on your twelfth birthday, right across your Honey Smacks, before he tramped out the door toward any place but here. You stroke her barrel as she whimpers in your lap, your only puppy ever. In high school, she slept under your pillow. You whispered to her. When you had your own kids and pulled out the dirt driveway to work, she was your Annie Oakley, stowed under your seat. On weekends, after you moved out, she was an outcropping of your own hand when you toted her into your stall at the firing range. She slept quiet as you cut through the hidden part of town, where the down-and-outers live. You liked to stop at the Biscuitville there before looking for work. She slid into your feet when you rear-ended the F-150. She’d always been standup. But now, when you reach down for your little waggly-tail, she takes her sweet time coming to you, as the man busts out of his vehicle all wild-eyed and red-faced, hastens back to you, reaching behind him, wears that close-inspecting look you get when a man figures he might come under assault. The codger’s thinking just that—he eyes you up as you reach down for Brownie. You stiffen as he reacts to sun gleaming off steel, recoil as he fires two rounds into your side. Your Colt Browning falls from hand to lap, right on top of your Fried Chicken Biscuit. The shooter leans in, you can hear his breath, as you, for the last time, pet your little partner, now wet with what looks like ketchup. Something’s stirring in the man, he calls out, “Hey! Hey!” Then asks, “That you, son?” But by then it wasn’t. It wasn’t you anymore.
Ronald Jackson writes stories, poems, and non-fiction. His work has appeared in Blue Monday Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Firewords Quarterly, The Gateway Review, Kentucky Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and in anthologies and online venues. Recognitions include honorable mention in the Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition in 2012, third prize in Prime Number Magazine’s 2014 flash fiction competition, honorable mention in the 2014 New Millennium Writings short-short fiction competition, and runner-up in the 2016 Lamar York Prize in Non-Fiction.
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