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by Catfish McDaris

Wilber asked Churchkey to come with him to examine the newest house he bought, he said it was foreclosed on by a bank and he’d gotten it for a song. The previous owner had killed himself, he had never recovered from the war in Vietnam. All the windows were covered with red paint and blue dots were painted on all the walls and on every item in the house. The only thing without blue paint was a framed flag with a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and a Combat Infantry Badge; Churchkey knew these were high honors. Wilber threw the frame in a pile of garbage. Churchkey retrieved the flag and medals and walked out of the house. He went home and sat in his favorite chair in the backyard. He brewed a pot of steaming sumptuous coffee over a hot fire in his hobo pot and wrapped his Navajo blanket around his shoulders. His grandfather from Quanah in the panhandle of Texas had given him a Comanche arrowhead, when Churchkey wanted a special brew; he added it to the burnt blackened pot. Thinking about the mountains, his ladies, and his cat he wondered about it all. Later he heard that Wilber had found $30,000 in the rafters of the basement and rather than finding the family to return the money to, he had kept it. Churchkey called his amigo Jesus and said he had some poetry readings around Providence and in New York City. He quit working for Wilber; he hoped his greed would swallow him like a Burmese python.

Catfish McDaris is an aging New Mexican living near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has four walls, a ceiling, heat, food, a woman, a daughter, two cats, a typing machine, and a mailbox. He writes mostly for himself and sometimes he gets lucky and someone publishes his words. He was in the Army artillery from July ’71 to July ’74.

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