There was nothing surprising about him—his bulky sweaters, his love of certain South American dissidents, his joint-cum-bookmarker that was surely stale. All these pointed to a certain reliable cliché, the mark of the over-educated and under-challenged. That was until our fifth month together when he began talking about dual citizenship, extradition treaties, and the need for real change.
I had assumed he meant with the system. I thought he was threatening, as most of our peers did, to move to Canada. I thought it was a phase like the incessant Violeta Parra songs or the knitted beanie. Then he robbed the first bank and did not feel shame or pride.
He was steadier; his eyes showed a clarity and confidence that surprised and excited me, which surprised me even more. I did not join him in this rebellion, but I clearly did not mind a hot harboring in feigned ignorance. By the time he proposed to spare me the pain of testifying against him and to give me the opportunity to move to an unnamed European country, he had robbed twenty banks, amassed four overseas accounts, and begun to achieve a defined jaw and trim figure that I knew I would miss someday very soon.
fiction and poetry have been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cardiff
Review, Cleaver, Short Édition, and The Stockholm Review of
Literature. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has been
published in several anthologies, including Nothing Short Of 100: Selected Tales
from 100 Word Story (Outpost 19), Respect: Poems About Detroit Music
(Michigan State University Press), and America, We Call Your Name: Poems
of Resistance and Resilience (Sixteen Rivers Press).
Ms. Bourbeau has worked with various UN agencies, including the UN peacekeeping mission
in Liberia and UNICEF Somalia. She is finishing a collection of one hundred 100-word
stories entitled Tart Juice.
Author’s website: https://www.heatherbourbeau.com/
Stories From Tart Juice
How to Talk to a Former Warlord, a poem by Heather Bourbeau
in The Missing Slate (18 March 2015)