by Sarah Freligh
WE’RE DOING SHOTS of Southern Comfort when Sasha finally gets around to telling us about the guy who strolled into the bank that afternoon naked as the day he was born and said stick ‘em up, like in the movies or something. Saddest little pistol I ever saw, Sasha says, and we all laugh and do another shot when she tells us the guy was actually Jeff Claiborne’s older brother Buzzy, who hasn’t been right since the accident though we all used to think he was a little odd back in high school the way he sashayed down the hall between classes and hugged everyone he saw, girls and guys. He sang tenor, too, but he broke every school record in the backstroke, there’s that, and he was sweet to me and all the other fat girls. After the accident Buzzy’s car was towed to Stevenson’s where it sat in the chain-link pen out back, grille twisted into a lopsided smile. For weeks people went down there to see for themselves so they could gossip about the front seat slipcovered in blood and the perfect hole in the windshield that Buzzy made when he rocketed onto the pavement. Graduation Day the principal himself drove over to the Claiborne’s house to hand Buzzy his diploma, a piece of paper that meant nothing to him, while Mr. and Mrs. Claiborne smiled on. Buzzy spends most days now on the front porch wrapped in a blanket shouting fuck and shit and grisley cunt at the cars that honk by but don’t stop and I’ve thought about visiting him, even dreamed that he’d come out of his fog and remember me and that time in the men’s room of the Burger Chef: the Levi jacket I knelt on and the salty ache of him, how he smelled like lavender.
Sarah Freligh is the author of four books including Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis, and We, published by Harbor Editions in early 2021. Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review miCRo series, SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, and in the anthologies New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (Norton 2018) and Best Microfiction (2019-21).