Ken loved driving the dirt road to the lake.

It was July

and the summer sun was so hot, it was fading the leaves on the trees.

It was 115 degrees—a heat wave

and the teenagers and 20-somethings

were not discouraged by the natural oven.

They must not be liberals, Ken thought.

“No, they are cold-blooded conservative women—that’s why they bathe in the sun like reptiles. Liberals, hold-up in their apartments and protest green-house gases on zoom calls.”

He popped-in his favorite tape, The Riders in the Sky.

His Chevy Chevelle drove up the dirt road, like a horse crossing the great plains.

There were some Indians.

The girls were tanned, with their shirts off. They wore jean shorts and neon bikinis.

Ken fumbled his Bowie knife. It was silver and sharp in the seat next to him. It could cut into anything.

American flags were everywhere—rolled-up into shoe strings and worn between the cracks

of tiny tanned asses, or draped across the shoulders of men.

When Ken was in Iraq, his commanding officer got angry when he dropped the American flag in the sand.

Now, it was being sold

to cover assholes. That’s what Ken did in the war.

He had survived, and now he was back in business again. He was 45, with sideburns and long blond hair, but that wasn’t the most striking aspect of his appearance.

His electric blue eyes were almost white—predatory in the heat.

There were bunny trails, everywhere, where cute blond bunnies, got lost in the undergrowth, walking to the lake, like Eve.

It made Ken hungry, like a wolf.

Their underwear was draped on the bushes.

Ken noticed two tanned girls walking between the trees in the nude. He slammed on the rubber break, and his steel car grated across the gravel.

He stripped off his blue jeans and white tank top, following after them with his silver thing. He held it in both hands, grinning, as he ran into the woods, with his heart beating.

Screaming, and then silence.

Ken walked out of the woods, and got into his blue Chevy Chevelle, smiling in his rearview mirror. His white teeth were bleached. His face was speckled with red tears.

He was a teenage heartbreaker.


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