S2E13 Hero/Book Announcement

Joe reappears to announce the publication of his short story collection and read one selection, “Hero,” a flash fiction piece.

Transcript:

“Hero: 3rd Street and Yakima”

We stood at attention when the car drew close, and one of the nieces even saluted. I wondered who taught her that—if it was Maria. Someone said, “This is what you do at a Veterans Day parade, mija. Salute now. Your uncle is passing by.” Like he was Atticus Finch.

Salute Pedro Gutierrez. Pedro, the gangbanger whose dying was the only noble thing he ever did. Pedro, who joined the Army to hide. Another day on the streets and the cousins of someone he jumped would have stabbed him. Or worse: there would be a drive-by that killed someone who mattered, someone like Maria and her family. My family. Mi familia.

If Pedro had died here, stabbed or shot or beaten, the people that stood on curbs, the ones who saluted his poster-size picture—riding in the back of a 1950-something Chevy like a Cuban dictator—those people would have said it was justice: one less punk. The karma of gang life. Let them kill each other. But Pedro died in Afghanistan, in the last gasps of America’s longest war, and we saluted him as some lost American innocent in a shrapnel-shredded uniform. He was a hero. He was Maria’s hero.

Maria waved at the car, and she walked out to it and touched its waxed white door. One of the men inside, a Vietnam vet with a black baseball hat, gave her a little flag on a kabob skewer. Maria brought it back to the curb, and she walked to Javier, her father, and presented it to him. Javier held Maria like a son.

The Things Left Behind at Mythic Records, 1982–2011 (story): Ep40

“It didn’t matter that Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and the indie bands embraced the LP. Vinyl lost to the digital download and Mythic Records fell.”

Theme music is “Holiday Gift” by Kai Engel, via Creative Commons. For artist information, see http://www.kai-engel.com

A Visitor’s Guide to Yakima (nonfiction): Ep34

“The Cascade Mountains divide Washington and enforce peace between desert and forest, liberal and conservative, Cougar and Husky.”

Theme music is “Holiday Gift” by Kai Engel, via Creative Commons. For artist information, see http://www.kai-engel.com.

Persona (story): Ep33

“John drew in the bathroom air, humid air laced with deodorant and soap. It was filling, cleansing.”

“Persona or: All Sanctuaries Smell Like Stockholm” was originally published by Santa Clara Review.

Theme music is “Holiday Gift” by Kai Engel, via Creative Commons. For artist information, see http://www.kai-engel.com.

First Day (story): Ep 4

“She’s my little girl and maybe I’m being selfish, but I don’t want her to go. There’s just no way to stop her or time or the changes that happen after this. In an hour, she’ll have a new woman in her life telling her how to act and talk and where to sit….”

Theme music is “Holiday Gift” by Kai Engel, via Creative Commons. For artist information, see http://www.kai-engel.com