Jamie Iredell

We let the cat out at Meteor Crater. I leashed him to me, but he squirmed until he hooked himself under the truck and the collar turned his head into a pinched sausage. When I plucked him out, his claws ripped a canyon in my palm, so we never saw what the extraterrestrial could do to a planet. That night we left him in the Amarillo hotel, where he squiggled under the bedsheets. Amarillo was empty silos and yards full of things that looked like Holsteins, and sometimes actual cows. Sean had never left Monterey Bay. He was like a kid in a Dickens novel, all pluck and smiles, squeezable cheeks. He wouldn't talk about sex or drink or his bearded father who had never learned my name. Sean wanted to go to Hooters because, like most things, he'd never been. I said the chicken wings were okay. That's what we had, the skin dripping off them like it does from the humans in nuclear holocaust films. The sauce ran into the cut on my palm and I held it out to Sean. "Don't be afraid," I said, "touch it."

Jamie Iredell's books are When I Moved to Atlanta (Paper Hero Press) and When I Moved to Nevada (The Greying Ghost Press), and they should be out soon. Work has appeared both online and in print in elimae, Avery, Lamination Colony, The Literary Review, and many others.

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