Lesser evils gather and disperse, ephemeral as fine hairs on a barbershop floor. But the greater evils aren’t obvious until it’s too late. You think Looks like it might rain and then a SWAT team storms the house next door. I remember the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965. My parents didn’t know what was going on, but at first I didn’t think it felt evil, just strange – candles encrypting the living room, rosaries at our fingertips in case we passed the limits of reasonable conversation. While Mom prayed to her Jesus of Prague, Dad and I went out to find the news on our Chevy Bel-Air radio, sitting in the dark garage, engine running, scratchy voices in the dashboard as if from tiny hostages. That was when he told me about hearing Orson Welles’ famous broadcast in 1938, how he wasn’t fooled at all. But nowadays, he said, who knew what those Communists might do? You mean Martians, I corrected incorrectly, too frightened to know the difference.
Fred Muratori’s prose poems and flash fictions have appeared in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Fiction International, 100 Word Story, Inch, Duende, NANO Fiction, and others. The latest of his three published poetry collections is A Civilization, issued by Dos Madres Press in 2014. He lives and works in Ithaca, NY.