The conquering hero

You try to corral all these ghosts, these graven images. Brush up against their unpolished surfaces, scuffed, stained by compulsive use. No one walks these halls but those you invite, and once they lace up their boots, they won’t leave.

He enters, this conquering hero. T-shirt fresh out of the pack, hair pushed back like high tide, and a six-pack of Lowenbrau in each hand.

Who’s with me?” he says. A low growl. It’s supposed to sound aroused but comes out drunk. And the tee ain’t that clean.

Ghost-boy or real, real as Spain. But shaded and glossed-up. Tattoos and hair-plugs, grease on his lips, staged, all window dressing. Laughter is the first lie, this charade the second.

I wore a bath towel for a cape. Something they could fold me into when they were through with me. The little kids were vibrating on the sidewalk when they saw what I had done.

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