Starting Over

“You want crazy? I’ll tell you crazy.” Rudagi selected a burning stick and shook it up and down, tracing lines into the blackness of my retina. He smacked it against the ground, throwing sparks across the sky, smothering the flame. Then he brought the glowing end to his face and lit a cigarette. For a moment I saw his grinning face, lined and magnified in the dark. “I’ll tell you crazy,” he said again, exhaling smoke, gesturing with his cigarette hand. I cracked open another beer.

The three of us were spending the summer at Emil’s grandfather’s cabin on the Puget Sound. We spent the days hunting and fishing and digging up clams. At night we sat around a fire, drank beer, and taunted one another. This night the moon was particularly bright. Emil was strumming a guitar. “Don’t want to start over. Don’t want to begin again,” he crooned.

“Tell me crazy,” I said to Rudagi. He took a deep breath and plunged into another anecdote from the Iran-Iraq War. Sometimes that’s all he could talk about. I didn’t mind. He was a hell of a good storyteller.

People on couch
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