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Fiction by John Biron

Gatorbear

Him was laid up behind the shed in a big white box diamond shaped too bright to blinding when the sun hits on it just so barely fitting him in there. Him was made up like a city kid like king Freddy the Third on account of his daddy and granddaddy being taken with the name too, and then Wednesday Freddy the Third on a real hot afternoon was laying dead in that white box with the First and Second and half the town looking on.

Him was a big guy, strong like a gator, strong and mean looking like one with his top lip bent pinned in a snarl though wasn’t never mean to me always kinda looked out for younger folks too like him was a friend.

It was one fair came to town back a year ago or so he was sitting on the dunk tank and I hit it right dead on a bullseye like I was a top shot and it dunked him was looking like a wild animal thrashing around like wild till he jumped straight out that tank just pushed hisself up over the rim of it clearing it like nothing running at me great big squeezing me all wet us both laughing like two nuts like we was asylum-bound.

You dunked me you little shit,” he said hugging me like a big bear us two laughing and laughing.

I remember them later on walking up saying something about him owing them a lot of something like they were threatening and Freddy wasn’t laughing no more he was quiet he said Not here” and one flicked their cigarette at him still lit I thought it was awfully rude. I wanted to ask why or what or who they was but he grabbed me up again like it never happened and took me on the rides.

That fair was the first time it felt like real blood deep with him I think him was proud of me for hitting that target and the proudness kinda jumping into me like a forest hare lean muscly getting me all excited like I was something a bit different or maybe more than just me by ways of him.

Take a taste,” he said that night familiar slow.
“I’m allowed?” I said.
“Sho, you got a arm like a man don’t you? Stands to reason you got a man’s stomach, too.”

So I was smiling then and the sharpness of it scorched down my throat landing like a ball of hot metal in my tummy like a tingling all the way to my toes fingers me smiling like no other him was now too.

It burns,” I said.
“Ain’t nothin like it.”
“Is it meant to hurt?”
“That’s how you know it’s workin.”

There’s a big ole gatorbear thrashing like wild through some graywhite clouds, momma said him is welcomed up there with open arms no matter what he done said him is able to let go of all that bad blood what costed his blood come pouring out his chest too soon like fire. We watched on while him was laid under that soil like they didn’t want to disturb him resting and him said if it hurts that’s how you know it’s working.

John Biron

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