Immortality
Bev Vines-Haines


Back in the summer of ’47, my family was clawing out of the Big One, WW II. Wasn’t too bad for a kid. My dad was home and life became pretty idyllic. I’d sit with him in the back yard and we would listen to the Detroit Tigers all afternoon. I’d lay back, lost in blue sky, and listen to the crack of those bats, the announcer’s monotone and an endless hum of bumblebees working my mother’s hollyhocks.

But I inevitably got restless. Too much happiness, I think. I’d stretch and say I was going to Barnes’s Grocery down at the corner for an RC Cola. Duke, my collie, would stay with Dad. He hid under the table on hot days. He’d once chased a fly that turned out to be a bee and he’d gotten a sting on his tail. Somehow he blamed the sun.

My dad didn’t ask if I had money. He should have. I’d been turning into a grifter since he came home from the war. I stole RC Cola every chance I got. I also stole Art Gum erasers for school. And pencils. It was a game. Not a whole lot of fun. I’d talk with Mr. Barnes, get him wound up on politics. While he waved his arms and ranted about too many concessions I’d take whatever I wanted. Somehow that stealing held off another war, another season of fear.

By the time Korea came along I’d discovered girls and decided I was invincible.


First published: August 2018
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