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I’m studying for my polygraph test. It’s not one of those easy, multiple-choice tests. You have to be smarter than the internet; you have to know bee logic, know exactly where to land. I don’t think they’re going to grade my exam on a curve. But, I’m not worried. I’m a great test-taker. I got an A+ on my marksman’s exam. The day I took that test, I wore a t-shirt that said Gun Control on the front. On the back, it said, SQUEEZE, Don’t Pull. The boys at the shooting range thought that was a hoot. Fortunately, I look good when I’m dressed in camouflage. When I get down on the ground, you can’t really tell it’s me. I look like a desert with some leaves blowing over it. Vicki used to say I looked like the wind, with its boots on. Vicki was a million laughs. I told her it’s all about rightsizing. You’ve got to get it just right; not too much, not too little. That’s why I used to carry one of those yellow tape measures with me wherever I went. But I don’t need them anymore. I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing how big or small things are. It’s all about perspective. Vicki used to say it’s a God-given talent. I can guess the carats of diamonds and the caliber of bullets. I could guess your collar size, right now. No sweat. My lawyer says there’s a lot riding on this trial. He said my neck is on the line. I told him that when I’m on the stand, I’ll sit quiet as a pearl, my face, hard as an oyster shell. When they ask me those questions, I’m going to be ready. Like an ambush. Like I’m firing into the kill zone. Cool and controlled. Squeeze, don’t pull. Hug, don’t strangle. Even if Vicki’s mom and dad are in the courtroom, even if I’m convicted, I’m cool, I’m ready. Like they say, everything happens for a reason. Almost everything.


Appeared in Off the Coast, Fall, 2015

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