Life’s Sentence by B.R. Hostetter

December 5, 2011 Comments Off on Life’s Sentence by B.R. Hostetter

The first sentence: an explanation; rather a fragment that, after having been written, then leads into character – a man (ninety-eight to be exact, an age that implies: perfect baldness, wrinkled and thin lips, drooping eyes, elbows like daggers – though home to bags of saggy skin like handfuls of putty or two runny eggs – crooked and yellow dentures like rows of Chiclets and candy corn – irises gone gray and cataract, peepers like doll eyes that peer out a complexion not rosy but pallid and that’s crater-laden, just beneath a piebald crown – a breeding ground for sun kisses and incongruent liver spots – a voice wholly weak and that rasps under all circumstances like hearing a mocking bird choke on a dozen blueberries – a bladder the size of a green pea, and a ballooned prostate that, under duress, inflates and assumes the role of a cantankerous adjunct to the system – a urinary tract squeezed to the diminutive size of a wheat strand like the stringy feed once crammed in the mouth on hot summer days, when tilling the acre his family had so to make a buck or two – and the inability to move from one end of the tiny, dimly lit apartment to the other where, in the corner, on the bruised bureau, black and white photographs sit inert, framed smiles fading – a collection of years spent patrolling Beijing, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam – a trove of Polly, then Marie, and finally Clair who died last April due to arrhythmic complications) craggy and old, who’s characterized and then named: Victor Bloomfield – and after rolls over, but barely, into plot that’s short and thin, for he’s lived a full life; seen the world; loved and lost; buried friends and family; worked and retired; had his breakfast of burnt toast and tepid water; and finally rolled over one last time after having urinated himself, took a strained breath, said nothing because who’s he to talk to, and died as the sentence came to an end.

© 2011 Ben Hostetter

Ben received his Ba in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. He lives in Charlottesville, VA, where he writes everyday with his cat, Copernicus.

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