Great scattered clouds drifted imperceptibly on the heavier air, framed by grey linings that made them appear every bit as animated as a backdrop in a cartoon. Jaxxon stood, inhaling the toxic fumes of his menthol, considering that he wanted both to quit and to get cancer one day.

It was Memorial Day and F-16 Fighting Falcons, resplendent in their red, white and blue flew formations under those clouds in preparation for the cadets’ graduation in two days from the Air Force Academy nestled at the base of the Rockies. Reverberating thunder was directed to the world around by the afterburning turbofans of their passing overhead, which seemed to mimic Jaxxon’s sense of anger and anxiety, though his was directed both inward and toward his environment. Perhaps the engine wasn’t the perfect mimic to his emotions. A nuclear bomb, lead outer shell, x-ray irradiated material, two stage detonation; That might have been closer, but one that waited and contained itself with willpower and compassion. Would lead corrode with time and pain? Was it like Styrofoam, lasting a million years in a landfill when thrown away, or like iron, slowly oxidizing with saline raindrops that fell from the clouds now? Resting forgotten in the compact earth next to used tampons and unwanted wedding albums.


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