Starship Commander by David J. Thompson

Your One Phone Call

Shitty, he says, real shitty, when I ask him
how he’s doing.  Katie’s dropped out of college,
didn’t even tell anyone, he says, sticks his finger
in his drink, and swirls it around. Now I find out
she’s living with her hippie friends in Asheville.
She says they’re going to start a t-shirt company
or some bullshit like that. I shift a little bit in my seat,
tell him that doesn’t sound so bad, but he finishes
his drink in one swallow and says, When I left her mother,
I signed on Katie’s student loans just  to make everybody happy.
We all agreed she’d pay them back after she graduated.
Now I’m really fucked. Christ, what was I thinking?
Oh, shit, I say. That sucks really hard, and motion
to the waitress to bring another round of drinks,
tell her to make them doubles.

Twenty years earlier we tiptoed up…

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