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When Charles Landry shotgunned his wife of 27 years, causing her immediate death as well as his eventual descent into madness, I was mowing his lawn. When I finished I knocked on his door to collect my money. He invited me in for lemonade and said to have a seat. He came back with a $20 and poured us each a glass.

“Did your wife make this?”

“She did indeed,” he said, and wiped the back of his hand across his lips. “Nobody made lemonade like Rita.”

“You mean she’s not going to make any more?”

“I don’t think so, Doug.”

“Oh.” I didn’t ask why because that would be nosy.

I went home and told my brother that Mrs. Landry would never make any more lemonade.

“How come?”

“I don’t know.”

“You didn’t ask?”


“Go find out.”

I went across the street and knocked on his front door.

“My brother wants to know why your wife won’t be making any more lemonade.”

“She passed away, Douglas.”

“She died?”

“That’s right.”

“Oh. I didn’t know. I’ll go tell my brother.”

I went home and told my brother Mrs. Landry was dead.

“When did that happen?”

“He didn’t say.”

“What’d she die from?”

“He didn’t say that either.”

“You need to be more inquisitive. You can’t go through life not asking questions.”

“I would be invading his privacy if I asked all that.”

“Sometimes the need to know supersedes the right to privacy.”

“You want me to go back and find out?”

“Pretend you’re a cop investigating her death.”

“How come?”

“Because if you pretend you’re a cop, you’ll need to keep asking questions until you get the truth, but if you’re your normal self, you’ll be walking back and forth all day.”

“Should I tell him I’m pretending to be a cop?”

“No, keep it to yourself.”

I went back across the street. This time Mr. Landry must have seen me coming. He opened the door just as I was about to knock.

“My brother wants to know when your wife died.”

“Earlier today.”

“He wants to know what she died from.”

“Head trauma.”

I went back home and told my brother what I found out. He was satisfied with the answers. A couple weeks later the police took Mr. Landry away. Last I heard he was in the psych ward at Lucasville, awaiting execution.



He is the silent son. He will speak no more forever, for silence is his sentence.

He moves with cheerful briskness through the sunny morn, into the overbearing afternoon, the tumultuous night, and sleeps with the moon at his side.

His broom is always twitching. His fingers are not regarded. It was once said of him: “He is an impostor.”

His breath melts icebergs. He tosses words into the arctic air, where they hang frozen in an ice cloud, blown by the wind into a mishmash of broken letters, transcribed by writing school dropouts who copy them onto frozen paper, singing the songs of seal-hunters as they nail his words onto the sky, where parachutists snag them and bring them to earth as presents for loved ones.




CARL: Have you renounced your evil ways?

JORDAN: I have.

CARL: What evidence have you?

JORDAN: I shall prostrate myself before thee.

He prostrates himself.

CARL: Rise, my son, and accept this blessing. Sin no more. Although I am not convinced of your reformation, to call you a liar would be unfair.

JORDAN: My actions shall speak louder than my words.

CARL: Cliches are proven true only when one’s behavior authenticates their dubious verity.

JORDAN: Understood.


JORDAN on phone, breathing heavy. He is masturbating.

JORDAN: Oh God! You are the Messiah! Impale me on your love! (He climaxes, then dies.)


Michael Haller (he/him) is a writer based in Cincinnati. His fiction has been published in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Maudlin House, Five on the Fifth, Across the Margin, and JAKE. Poetry in BULLSHIT LIT; a play, “Revival,” in Blue as an Orange; and a children's poem, “The Moose and the Goose,” in Buzgaga. Twitter.

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