Bums. That’s all that’s in this country. Remembering this and remembering that. Putz. You aint going back to no Chicager cos there aint no Chicager to go back to. There aint gonna, not in your lifetime. Bums. Yer drinking outta sawnoff soup tins for christsakes. No better than them bum generals. All they did was get ahead in the game earlier. So sit by the fire and drink your drink and shut the fuck up about yer damn memories. I don’t wanna hear that shit nomore.
The other man started to stammer.
Shut the fuck up. I don’t wanna hear nothing. I had it with your damn memories.
Be a man for god’s sake. Keep yer mouth shut. You’re done. So’s your country.
Asshole, the other man said.
That’s better. Just don’t go reminiscing about every stiff prick you ever seen.
And you, he said, turning to the third man. What did you do?
I sold guns.
The old man lifted his eyes from his cup. Marbled blood vessels across his eyeballs. For the government?
You sold guns to the enemy?
Ramone shrugged. They were paying more.
Jesus Christ. Boy aint you some kinda patriot. You hearing this?
Ramone looked at the other bum. The man looked away.
He heard alright, Ramone said.
How could you sell your people like that?
People? I aint got no people. All that country ever gave me was kicks.
That’s the united goddamn states your talking about.
United? Aint you a little old for a circus clown? All that country done for me is whip me and beat me and chain me up till I was half mad. I’d do it all again and charge double just to watch the cities burn.
The old bum’s face was purple. Mister, he said very slowly. You better get the hell away from our fire.
Stephen O’Donnell previously had short stories published in The Gambler Mag, The Bloody Key Society Periodical and Gambling the Aisle. He is currently seeking an agent for his novel.