Soldiers of Misfortune
by Jack Conway


We are soldiers of misfortune, you and I. Winter soldiers.
Don't cry. Why do you always have to cry? We are
unqualified failures at life. You hardly think so do you
Mr. Buzzy Pants? Well, tell me this. Wasn't it you who hired
a band of pygmies to play at the wedding, because I wanted
a small quartet? That was you wasn't it, Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy?
And wasn't it you Who ordered a pizza delivered during
your father's the eulogy? I never met the man but they say
he was grand. You know these aren't things we should
quibble about, as if quibbling is what it's all about. It can't
be denied. It is all there before us like any number of pins dancing
on the head of an angel. And yes, wasn't it you Mr. Boo Boo Plinker
who bought a Braille copy of Lolita and spent hours alone licking
the dirty parts? How on earth can you say we were cut out for this life?
We might just have well been cut out of gabardine. The fruits of
our labors have all rotted and can I tell you this Mr. Ticky Tacky Toes,
I am no better. Wasn't it me who accidentally proposed to a display
window dummy thinking she was simply mute? And then the
embarrassment of having her run off with a cigar store Indian,
leaving me waiting at the altar, altered, waving goodbye to my future ex.
No. No. Let's both confess. To crimes of passion and hope
We get life, or something close to it. We are soldiers of misfortune
you and I. Our weapons rusted. Our boots worn thin. Our supplies
running out. And the battlefield lies ahead of us. It's no use looking
through that empty toilet paper roll and pretending it's a telescope.
You can only hide beneath the player piano for so long before
the sour notes drive you crazy. Outside the shells are falling
or is it snow. I don't know. I'm afraid to look.


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