The Sign of the Burning Moon
by Frank Zafiro
"Hell of a sight," Jess said. He gazed from the front porch at the rising moon. Grey clouds filled the sky like dirty cotton.
Darryl took a pull of his Coors and grunted.
“Looks like the moon is on fire,” Jess said. “All them clouds is smoke rolling off the flames.”
“Ain’t you just the poet,” said Darryl. He chuckled into his beer bottle. “An Indian poet.”
Jess ignored the jibe. Darryl was mean, but mostly just ignorant. If it didn’t involve a woman, a truck or beer, Darryl couldn’t find the beauty in anything. And nothing made him feel guilty.
Jess saw the beauty in almost everything and correspondingly, pretty much everything wracked him with guilt.
“Moonrise like that,” Jess whispered, “it’s like God trying to tell the world something.”
“Hell with the world. God wants to tell me something, start with the lottery numbers.”
Jess took a sip of his beer and wondered why he drank the foul stuff. Why he hung out with Darryl. Why he never told Darryl no, not even that night when they’d passed that girl hitch-hiking, and Darryl flashed his trademark grin at Jess and picked her up.
“Maybe it is a sign,” Jess whispered.
Darryl heard him. “A sign I need another beer,” he said, hurling his empty out into the yard.
“I’ll get one.” Jess walked inside the trailer. He passed by the scarred white fridge and lifted the phone. His hands did not shake as he dialed 911.