CALIBRATE FOR EFFECT
 
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- by neal durando
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We went because he said he wanted something light. We went to the botanical garden because we were avoiding where we would end up anyway. As it was a Monday, we should have avoided any sort of museum. We hadn’t realized the botanical garden was considered a museum. We also tried the café at the Modern.

“It must be Monday,” he said. This is how it dawned on us, why I am sure of it now.

We ended up going to Al’s.

“But we never see Al anymore,” he said after we were seated.  So Al popped out from the kitchen and said hello. My father took the opportunity to lodge a complaint about the service. 

Alone again, we talked about how we would know the war was won.

“We aren’t even going to get to know when the war is over,”  I said, or something along those lines. I tried to pull him with me for a little ways. I said I thought knowing something about when a war was won or lost was a little like trying a trip to the museum in order to find out what day of the week it was. It was, even, like going to a museum when you’re hungry. How much faith could you place in such odd impulses? For him, the whole deal was already won.

He paid with his card. I had intended to intercept the check, but he looks older. There’s no getting by Al. Al circulated saying hello to all the doctors who eat at Al’s. “Al isn’t looking so good,” he said later. I recall that, when Al came by, Al told me that I was the one who had to take care of him.

Later, on the plane to Paris, he watched me from behind the armored glass. He watched me walk over the puff device. He waved. I was alone. My jacket rose out around me.

In 1973 we flew together from an airport called Arrowhead in Missouri. We went up in a one-seventy-two. We took off at seventy five knots and landed, in a crosswind, at sixty five. We did a three-legged trip across the state. I remember the final landing. I remember that, in spite of anticipating the controlled crash which always seems to accompany a crosswind, he made a three point landing. He steered us over the apron and cut the throttle at the exact moment. There would never be any way of knowing the moment we had landed. 

We blow about beneath the ghosts of larger men.

 
 
was published in November 2016
 
 
categories
 
Fiction
    Flash Fiction
    Short Story
Non-Fiction
    Essay
    Interview
    Narrative
Poetry
 
 
 
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