From the Series “You Don’t Know Jack”

Jack opened another beer, his fifth in two hours. He was drinking to forget, but he couldn’t remember what it was he wanted to forget. That was the problem with forgetting. It didn’t solve anything. Assuming he woke up tomorrow, he’d still have bills to pay, a roof to fix, an unwed pregnant daughter, and Marjorie who refused to speak to him. That was it, he remembered. He was drinking to forget Marjorie. Jack opened another beer, his sixth in—he checked his watch—two hours, ten minutes. Jack was drinking to forget, but he couldn’t remember what it was…

Jack tried sitting with his thumb up his ass, but found it uncomfortable. He then sat quietly trying to contemplate his naval, but he was distracted by random thoughts, such as how it would feel if he actually did have two left thumbs or his head was screwed on backwards. Contrary to his father’s claims, he could walk and talk at the same time. But everything else his father accused him of was nearly impossible. He decided he would explain this to the old man. Yet doing so would likely prove his father’s claim that he was indeed a smartass.

Jack threw another stick of wood on the fire and watched the sparks spiral upward like clouds of stars. His personal fireworks display. His last celebration. Jack had decided to turn himself in the next day, so this would be his last night of freedom, and he planned to enjoy every sensation. After the fire died to embers, he put shapes to the constellations he had learned as a child. And in the distance he listened to the waves lapping the shore. Just before daylight, he heard voices and sensed movement in the tall needle grass. Jack raised his arms.

Jim Woessner works as a visual artist and writer living on the water in Sausalito, California. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. His publishing credits include The Daily DrunkFlash Fiction MagazineClose to the BoneAdelaide MagazinePotato Soup JournalThe Sea Letter, and others.

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