Boilermaker by JW Goll

Butchie and I drive north on Water Street, heading into a sunrise that warns us to keep on our toes, this could be the day it all goes to hell. He’s only halfway through his probation and I don’t need more trouble that I’ve already got. “Lie low,” my old girlfriend counsels, “and use some common sense for a change,” as though she’s the reasonable one.

On the east side of town, just across the river, sits the Hiram Walker distillery. On the west is the Pabst brewery. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, there is hops or sour mash in the air. Crossing the bridge was called shot and a beer, or beer and a shot, depending on ones direction. Just breathing in this town should be called a boilermaker.

We wave back at a fourteen-foot woman in a swimsuit as we do most mornings. Her name is Vanna and her hand is out like a hitcher’s thumb. The tire store where she flags customers is long abandoned, but she still smiles, hopeful for a ride out of that dump. We’d pick her up if she’d fit. I think the three of us would do well in Mexico. 

After a few hours on the cleanup crew, we drive to Springdale Cemetery to eat our lunch where we see two skinheads pissing in the Jewish section. “The things you see when you don’t have a gun,” Butchie laments. Thing is, he’s got a gun in the glove.

JW Goll is a writer and artist currently working as a Patient Advocate at a large hospital in Durham, North Carolina. His stories and poems are informed by experiences as a photographer in Chicago, the Dakotas, and Central Europe. As a sculptor and installation artist, he has been represented by galleries in Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, New York, and Chapel Hill, NC. He has published in Storm Cellar, The Vestal Review, Fiction Kitchen Berlin, The Museum of Americana, PureSlush, Hotel Amerika, and Flash Boulevard among others.

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