Issue 148, Fall 1998
There’s a hill east of the village, not as tall as others, but I can see every road worth seeing. Someone planted tulips around a maple up there. I don’t know why—maybe a family buried a dead pet, an orange tabby cat perhaps. You know, they eat their animals now. I’ve seen old women through my scope trailing after dogs, holding cleavers or boards with nails behind their backs.
But the hill. The tulips smell best in late spring, and I often bring a book to read. I used to excel in school. This year alone I have read Twain, Stendhal, Borges and Joyce. My father just sent copies of Proust and Mann. The translations are good ones, I think, but soon I hope to study in France and read the originals myself.
I am still surprised watching people die. When shot, they fall the same way, folding in air like acrobats then flattening quickly against the pavement. Sometimes the wounded will try to drag themselves to an alleyway or a door. I can’t explain why I finish off some wounded but not others…