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Three Truths and Three Lies About Jack

******************Editor's Note: Adult Language********************
Jack's mother always told the same story when Jack asked about his dad. She wove a tale about a hero who marched through a poppy-strewn field with a sword of silver. He fought valiantly, a real hero-knight slaying monsters for tokens of his lady's courtly love. She didn't tell Jack of men with eyes red and swollen from chemical breath and bodies pulped into the mud. She didn't mention the spike-helmed giant who crushed his father's bones to make his bread.
Jack's wife was doing a bit of spring cleaning, clearing out the dust-balls from under their shared bed, when she discovered a box containing three golden eggs. Now, she was familiar with the old joke about the eggs and the box of money, and immediately suspected that Jack had strayed from their marriage. When she confronted him--that he'd placed an egg under the bed for each dalliance--he said in a tiny voice, "Oh there was only one other, from before I ever knew you, and I needed three eggs to count for all of her."
Once when Jack's son was still saying bafroon instead of bathroom, an adder dropped from a tree onto the grass where the boy was playing. Jack took an ax, and with all his strength severed the head right from the zigzag-patterned body. Jack has always been good with an ax.
Jack was known to build tiny shortwave radios with nothing but fly wings and silver thread. His favorite station featured a synthesized rendition of "Lincolnshire Poacher" followed by a dry female voice reading numbers in groups of five, the last number pronounced with a jaunty lilt. He turned on his radio late at night to drown out the music of that fucking harp.
Jack spent his last years roaming the roads with a dry milk cow looking for someone to buy her. There actually were quite a number of people who offered a couple pounds or even a chicken for the old animal, but Jack wouldn't settle for anything less than a handful of beans.
When Jack was still young and it had been his turn to fight the giant, there had been no fields of poppies, but instead a great steel chariot that launched Jack into the sky where he floated to the ground suspended from a cloud. His English blood got sniffed out and he spent years being marched from one place to the next. Jack knew to only say: name and rank. By the end, he existed on nothing but potatoes and sugar cubes and he took dysentery shits in a bench of holes with seven other men. He didn't tell that story to his children, no. He didn't tell them anything at all.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, July 12th, 2021
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