It was the night of what would have been Brad’s 22nd birthday. Not long ago we learned he had been killed somewhere in the Middle East. We celebrated accordingly.
We reminisced about younger times in that old, abandoned pool, our once-pink lungs giddy for the P-Lights Brad always stole from his drunk mother—one of the few things he ever got from his mother. His dad, on the other hand, just gave and gave—beatings, repressed memories, Black Cats. We always went to the pool with Black Cats—for the frogs. There were hundreds of them, singing for us all at once as we approached. They were easy to scoop with our dirty hands, and we took turns squeezing the little shits and stuffing them with firecrackers.
At that point I envisioned the men who scooped Brad up from murky waters, who force-fed him a similar poison and watched as he flopped and bubbled into a steaming, black bulk of sinew.
Frogs croaked outside, but I didn’t really hear anything.
The Night of the Gun