Billy Ray Lloyd

The drifter sits on a misshaped chair in the corner of the abandoned shell of Betty’s Beauty and Salon. The light shines through the cracks of wood and graffiti. The drifters bones crack as he his body settles. There are no more battles to be fought today.  He was done with the scarlet haze of life. Everyone is gone.

Fifty miles away there is an abandoned road block. Some houses lights were left on. Garage doors were left open. A trench is dug between. An old pontiac has a fist indented into its hood and has skid marks left from when it was drug sidewise and turned over into a ditch. There is abandoned tank bunkers laid five miles across a field. Forty craters were left between them and the main road. Treads blow through the front of the wall that otherwise blends in with the surrounding hill and turn promptly into the other direction. A syrian still sounds faintly from the buried speaker on the end of a snapped pole. There is a tunnel through the public library and a path straight through one end to the other. It all ends at Betty’s Beauty and Salon.

He had a cough. He tried to ignore it while he could. He let the adrenaline and strength of his lounges ignore it, while he could, but now it jerked him out of his chair. His body hunched over and his shoulders jerked violently back as he coughed. There were no doctors left. Not for a hundred miles. Maybe more. He didn’t know where they had carted off the people. He wouldn’t be near one. He couldn’t figure out why he kept thinking of it. It wasn’t an option. He had made it that way. He looked up at the strands of sunlight. He thought back to his first fight. Just a few boys from the neighborhood. He didn’t understand why they picked on him but he also didn’t understand why he would suffer it. He fought them in a graffitied ally. He had left them lying on the ground in too much pain to move. He came accross the next person he saw and hadn’t stopped. The guy got a few good punches in but was left through on a grosser check-out. Then there was the grosser. There was always someone else to beat. Soon police, a local gang playing hooky, construction workers, stopped drivers, then some more police. Now it was army and very dramatic citizens. He lost track long ago how many. His contemplative gaze was interrupted by his chest heaving cough after caugh. His fists slammed into the linoleum.


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