I met a man

I met a man by accident. We were in this dream/war/crusade/prison together on the outskirts of town. “Legion” meets “The Stand,” or something like it. We talked about ice cream flavors, the feel of summer vacation on our schoolyard crushes, endless games of kick ball, fireflies we let out in the polka dots of our mason jars.

The group of us left behind, the last of the 20th century, remnants of this man-made, white picket fence, we gathered around the last counter in the last diner on earth, waiting for them to take us out. Kindness, a virtue we refused to keep to ourselves. We shared what was left of the running water out back before the black strap boots came knocking doors down.

Down here, nothing mattered but the small talk of aging strangers. The last thing I heard before steel rods cut me down, “It was nice meeting you, Carol. I wish— “

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