STEVE’S FATHER
Molly Giles

 

Two inmates have escaped from Angola but Steve’s father tells Steve’s wife not to worry, he keeps 85 loaded weapons right here in the house, so even if the niggers do head for Mobile, they’ll be safe. Your father’s insane, Steve’s wife hisses to Steve and she covers the kids’ ears and starts to lead them back to the car. Steve’s father says Oh hell, I’ll lock the damn guns up then but when Steve’s six-year-old son comes down for a drink of water at midnight he sees his grandfather crouched behind the couch aiming straight at him. It’s just a nine millimeter, Steve’s father protests, look, it’s not even loaded, the damn clip is on the other side of the room. All night Steve hears his father pace from gun to clip, timing himself so he’ll be ready when the convicts burst in to murder them. In the morning the radio announces that the men have been caught, four miles from the prison, but Steve’s father knows that’s not the end of it, not by a long shot. He bends to hug his grandchildren goodbye. When they come for you, he whispers to the six-year-old, aim for the left knee, and if you can’t, go for the gut. Never, he whispers to the ten-year-old, vote for a rich man.

                                                                

 

Molly Giles’s  chapbook of flash fictions, BOTHERED, won The Split Oak Prize. She has recent flash fictions in Zyzzyva and Word Riot.