After Frankie died, his shack in the woods became a sort of shrine. People travelled from all over the country to visit this place in the mountains to the south of our country, where he’d seen out the last of his days. Students and children camped outside on the grass, sleeping under light blankets, eating yellow broth cooked up in a pot over a fire. People read excerpts from Frankie’s work. A local band played.

I didn’t attend the funeral. I watched these pictures on the TV in the barracks. I knew that Frankie would not have approved of the scene. But things had already overtaken him, the way they had overtaken us all. The war continued. Border incursions occurred every day. We were strained and tired and preparing for defeat. We did not need Frankie to die.

Published in Interzone 285

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