The General is on Television Again
Despite the egg on his face, he refuses to step down from the podium. It’s war paint, he insists, his neck swelling like a fighting rooster’s. Most of the audience eats it up. A truly brilliant yellow, notes one reporter. One can’t help but be reminded of the sun, adds another. People all over the country start wearing it after this. Grocery stores can hardly keep their refrigerators stocked. Throughout the suburbs, chicken coops dot the backyards. Breakfast becomes an awkward, troubled time. My daughter sees eggs on her plate and refuses to sit at the table. Barbaric, she says. Her younger brother has no interest in eating them, instead puncturing the yolks with his fingers and smearing yellow lines beneath his eyes. Please, please, everyone, I say. Out in our coop, one of the hens takes to eating her eggs. The habit spreads through the brood like a fever. You have to put them down when they start in on that, says our neighbor. But I’m just so tired, I say. Soon the yard is littered with excrement. The smell is enough to keep us from leaving the house. From the window, my wife looks out at all the splotches of white and says, It does look sort of interesting. I think I’ll try painting it. She spends all afternoon working on it in the garage and then hangs the finished work next to the mirror. What do you think? she says. It looks like shit, I say. It’s perfect.
Joshua Johnston was born and raised in Caneyville, Kentucky. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in such places as Salt Hill, Ninth Letter, Passages North, Hobart, and Forklift, Ohio. He currently lives in Tallahassee, where he’s working on a PhD at Florida State University.
Cover Photo by Olivier Duval