The Tragedy of Julius Orange
Trent M. Walters
I t happened because she/he was sprung from the womb (due the ides of March) too early: the ides of February. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Orange, named she/he "Julius" -- they thought she/he would make an excellent basketball player due to her/his elastic properties (discovered one morning when Mr. Orange bounced the baby on his knee before work -- thankfully he caught the baby).
It happened because, as Julius grew up, she/he found her/his elastic properties were unpopular with other kids. They spurned her/him throughout high school, and she/he, consequently, never got a date until college (Wake Forest on a full-ride basketball scholarship, playing for both women's and men's -- her/his drive was unstoppable) when, for Julius' birthday, she/he was on a double-blind date -- fellow teammates on both teams had set her/him up.
It happened because the boy-date drove them into Canada in his convertible to see from where the Mississippi sprang. The girl-date giggled, leaning her head out the passenger side while Julius straddled the stick shift. The boy-date often mistook her/his knee for the stick.
It happened because it was dark when they arrived, so they removed flashlights from the glove compartment. But as light fell between the boy and girl and water flowed between their legs, they fell in love and into the river. Julius stretched to reach them, but she/he fell in too and felt one or both stab something into her/his back.

First published: February 1998