He Loves, They Struggle

by Zach BROWN

“There’s a bonfire tonight.” Kate whispers from across the room. This is the first time she has spoken to me since Thursday.


“There’s a bonfire.”

“Oh, yeah. Do you want to go?”

“I guess.”

“Ok. Fine. When is it?”


I meant what time, but all right.


“Is today Thanksgiving?”


A few hours later and we’re off. See, there is this bonfire every year over at Texas A&M to get ready for the game against the University of Texas. Kind of like a pep rally. A lot of people painted in colors that are not their skin color. It’s been going on since like 1909, and we go every year. We didn’t go way back in 1909, since we weren’t born, but you know what I mean. Back in ’99, the bonfire collapsed while it was being set up and like 10 people died, so it was canceled that year. We were very saddened by the loss, but no one we knew had been killed. We didn’t go in ’00, either. I guess we really don’t go every year.

The drive is silent until we pass a billboard advertising the services of one Jonathan T. Samis, a defense lawyer serving the greater part of the northern Texas area for over 12 years. This normally would not have evoked a comment by Kate, but this billboard had “FUCK YOU” spray painted in huge letters across the middle.

“I wonder who did that.” Kate said.


“Probably some kids up late at night with nothing to do.”


“How would they get up there, though? It looks too high for a ladder to reach and there is no way they could have climbed the poles, is there?”

“Eh,” I signal with my shoulders.

Silence for a few more seconds. It is very welcome.

“Damnit, what it wrong with us?” Kate asks, a little more than slightly perturbed.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean this. We haven’t talked in five days. What the hell is going on?”

“Fucking hell, I missed my turn. I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with us. Shit. Let’s just shut the fuck up and get to this bullshit bonfire.”

We drive the rest of the way in silence.

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