‘Veterans Day’ is a story that alternates viewpoints between two characters—both prone to flights of fantasy. One of them, Clar, 'wakes to the chirp of orphans, the reassuring surf, the smoke of pork and pineapple.’ He is a Vietnam vet and former POW who has since found a patron in Mel Gibson and opened an orphanage in Hawaii.
The other character is Sheri, a teenager who ‘lives in a wasteland, in one of the many places where the wasteland puckers—a clot of trailers across the country road from school.' She volunteers at a soup kitchen in the city, where she first meets Clar.
Also, this story is set smack-dab in the early 1990s, and when Clar tells Sheri—an avid watcher of MTV—his tales of bravery, she listens and imagines, and what she pictures is fueled by all the gems coming down the pop-culture tube:
She’s intrigued by Janet Jackson’s supple severity.
She loves to crank the recently resurrected ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
And Anthony Kiedis is hot.
Meanwhile, Sheri’s history teacher makes a pathetic attempt at reaching his students by incorporating Billy Joel into the curriculum.
Sheri uses her teacher's disconnect to shame him into letting Clar come to the school to give a Veterans Day speech. The ensuing high-school assembly forces Shari’s and Clar’s fantasies to battle head to head.
‘Veterans Day’ is included in The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales, now out from Brooklyn Arts Press. BAP and I are collaborating to offer a giveaway tie-in for the first 50 people who order the book from the publisher's website: a broadside I designed and letterpress printed. Each one is an adaptation of a story from the collection—get yours free by ordering the book HERE!