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jackie boy came home from work. from work he said. i took him at his word. of course. id never seen him work. i saw him drink. but money came from somewhere. paid for food that found its way to open mouths. he took the chair that was reserved for him. that was always empty when it wasnt filled with him. filling the room with him. no one ive ever known could own a chair. could occupy a chair. the way he did. the lord and master. on his naugahyde.

and from a scarred and weathered chest he drew each night his jealous treasure. a doleful tenor wafting through the room like a soft scent as he lovingly admired the heft and balance. the checkered wooden grips worn smooth from handling. took the sperm oil to its chamois. buttered every spring and mechanism. enfield no2 mark 1 at your command. sir. id stand at ease and watch him polish off the oil he polished on. and hed confide to me. to it. to no one. maybe. but the fog that swirled around him. that he owed it his allegiance. he never offered explanation. never tolerated questions. never fired a shot but once in all the years i knew him.

jackie boy came home from work. with smiles for me and poppies for my mother. he sent us to the porch to wait for our surprise. it wasnt loud. it sounded like a book. like a weight thrown to the ground. my mother knew. expected. every day to hear the muffled crack that summoned her inside. the second shot surprised me more. such little time had passed. before she passed with jackie through that door.

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