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by Steve Beers

He drove his pickup down the long dirt driveway and stopped before the tall yellow house. A few of the shutters were off and stacked against the side for scraping. He would pitch in and help out with that today.

Taking in a deep breath of the cool predawn air, he tasted the nearby pines down by the water’s edge. The truck, which used to be his grandfather’s, rattled and coughed, giving away its advanced age. He shut it off and sat alone in the quiet. The hula dancer on the dashboard shimmied and shook. She seemed ageless, like a memory. He stayed her skirt as a light came on inside the house. He saw his mother through the window, crossing to the kitchen. She’d be putting the coffee on. Nervously, his fingers touched the folded letter in the right pocket of his jeans. His birthday was one of the “lucky” ones. A chill ran down his spine as he pulled out the induction notice he’d jammed in there yesterday.

He opened the truck door and it moaned back with resistance. Stepping out towards the house, he felt weightless, like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

Steve Beers is an artist and writer living in Burbank, California. He is the author and illustrator of the children’s book Bumpy the Frog (Kaeden Books) and teaches art at Mission: Renaissance Art School.