ARDOR Literary Magazine

ARDOR Literary Magazine - Issue Three, September 2013

Issue One, Published January 2013

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Page 59 of 109

NOTE: David Armstrong's short story was selected by guest judge Chris Offutt as the winner of ARDOR's inaugural short story contest. FEATURED PROSE THEIR OWN RESOLUTION Fiction by David Armstrong I was eleven and just out of band practice when my dad appeared, his long tall body like a broken twig leaning against his new truck in the parking lot of the middle school. He wore one of those yellow baseball hats with the plastic mesh in the back and a foam front that said, "I need another set of beer goggles...she's still ugly." I trudged up to him and set my tuba case on the ground. "You're not going to wear that, are you?" "Barnabus, I already am." My father, who I'd never seen drink a beer in his life, had in the past three weeks, as my sister put it, "gone off the rez." "We're still going to see mom tonight, right?" He smiled. He was, I guess, what you'd call a handsome man, if somewhat on the overly lean side, unlike myself. I was 'large of bone' and undeniably un-athletic. Pee-wee league football the year before had been disastrous; the helmet had fit so tight, it cut off blood to my brain and made my arm curl up involuntarily. I never went back. My consolation sport, the ping-pong club at the athletic center, had been equally a nonstarter for numerous reasons. "Did we say we were going to see mom, tonight?" Dad jammed his fingers into the front pocket of his new Levi's, which were tighter than his old ones. There was a kind of ignoble and traumatizing bulge about the zipper, a scrotum-crushing denim bubble that reminded me of a water balloon being squeezed. "Dad, it's important. And mom'll flip if you don't." He lifted my tuba into the back of the truck and secured it with a bungee cord. "How about we do something different, just you and me?" Tonight's dinner, unequivocally, would be the most important meal of my life. Plus, it went without saying most kids my age would rather die than hang out with their fathers. But dad's new 'lifestyle,' as mom called it, lent an edge of outrageous possibility to every undertaking. "Like what?" I said. (cont. on next page)

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