My brother was in the Army for three weeks, then he started mumbling all
his words & calling his commander Sergeant Fuckwad & they gave him his discharge papers. The doctors said he needed a lot of pills to keep his head together, but he wasn’t into medicine. One night, he showed up at our motel room. Louise answered the door, thinking it was the chinese food we’d ordered, but it wasn’t. My brother was 6’7’’ & skinny as a Pringles can. He needed a place to stay & I said we live in a goddamn motel. We don’t have room. That night, he sliced the tires to thirteen cars, took a sawed-off shotgun from inside one of them, & killed a pair of sheep from one of the neighbor’s backyards.
We knocked on the door of Louise’s dad’s home & kept knocking until we concluded no one was home. We walked into the backyard. My swingset, Louise said, pointing to a broken swingset. Our baby can use it, I said. We knocked on the patio door. The grass was unkempt. We looked through the window. The house was dark inside. A car pulled into the front driveway & we heard the door slam shut. We walked back through the yard, past empty beer bottles & a mound of ants. Louise gasped. Her stood in front of his car, staring at her. I noticed the paint peeling off the side of the house. No one moved.
Justin Carter co-edits Banango Street. His poems & fictions appear in Booth, cream city review, The Journal, Passages North, & Sonora Review. He’s a member of the seventh best trivia team in the Dallas area.