Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Iris

One thousand, seven hundred and forty-five people from eight hundred twenty-four households located in one point one square miles of a valley in the Shale Tier. Jon knew the names of all of his constituents. He greeted them on the street, in the grocery store and the VFW. They smiled when he asked about their families, their jobs and pets. As mayors went, he was the best. He kissed babies, shook hands with farmers and listened to women. In every election year, the good people of his town re-elected him. He led his town for twenty years now.

He was born in 1956, in this town. His mother gave birth to him at home in her marital bed. He grew up here, running between corn stalks, laughing, mouth wide open, occasionally swallowing a bug. He stacked bales of hay into tunnels in a barn, crawling through the straw up to turrets above the cow stalls. He warmed his bare feet in fresh patties, squishing them between his toes.

In one of these rocky mountain fields, at the age of twelve, Jon spoke his promise to a hawk circling over his head.

"One day, I will be king."

He spoke these words in a rush as he ducked behind the old rusting cars his father had dumped in the upper cow pasture. He peeked around a rotting tire. The old man carried his black belt between both big hands, snapping the leather and clicking the pin against the buckle. The sound traveled up the hill to Jon's hiding place. Jon picked up a rock. His father came around the car. Jon stood. He topped his father by three inches. Jon looked to the house. His mother leaned on one of the porch columns, blood from her forehead smearing the white paint. The wet dark smudges called to Jon like a neon sign telling him it was time.

His father raised the belt. Jon pushed his father's drunken arm aside and smashed the rock on his father's head.

The insurance money sent Jon to a private high school and a prestigious college. His mother turned out to be an investment wiz which set them up as small town royalty. Jon came home at twenty-two to do good works. The next year, he took part in his first election and he won in a land-slide.

He looked out of his office window. The large panes gave him an unobstructed view the town's main street. His people traveled the center of town with purpose. They dressed in grays, browns and dull blues. He watched them with an unexpected sense of dissatisfaction.

Yellow caught his eye. Lavender, red and stark white flashed. A girl danced on the side-walk in front of the bank, her blonde hair floating on the breeze. He leaned foreword placing his hand on the glass. His mouth watered. His body tingling. As he watched the girl spin, he heard music swell around him. He wanted.

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