Community Service

By Jason Walker


Near our hiding spot, a pine exploded from the pipe bomb one of us had strapped to it. We made a little campfire, talked Kierkegaard. January had fought hard to stay cold, no matter how many trees we blew up. At any rate, we had improved the community; instead of chopping up all of the wood for ourselves, we’d given everyone the warmth they needed. This required sacrifice, sure, but it was worth every scar.

We stomped out the campfire when we heard the sirens in the distance. Not that it mattered; we always assumed they’d catch us one day, our thin bodies sprawled out in a deserted farmhouse, our hats hanging on an old coat rack, or maybe we’d be half-dead in a ditch, waiting for the dogs. But we knew for certain that the town, chock-full of goody-goods and staggering geezers, would never enjoy another strawberry festival, another football game, another fundraiser – and this is all that mattered. They should’ve thanked us, but they only gave us scars.

When summer came around, we ran through the woods, the sirens growing louder and louder then fading into the static of the cicadas. We carved our names into the looming trees, so that the forest, and those who searched it, would remember us. But then again, they wouldn’t forget anytime soon.


Jason Walker lives in Birmingham, Alabama. His short-shorts have appeared online in Monkeybicycle, The Cafe Irreal, and others. His poems have appeared in Measure, Cellpoems, and elsewhere.

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