My dad fights Mom and I as we load him in his assigned catapult. The brochure prepared us for the moment that my dad has second thoughts about performing his final, fatherly duty. He forgot how Mom fattened him for this moment. Mom uses the last allotted tranquilizer to settle him down, before he can try and guilt us about how good he was at raising me and providing for her.

I look at the dam made of the other fathers across the lake. My dad’s father had that surgery done that lets you find where he landed, even after the worms or birds picked his body clean. My glasses beep once I find him. My mother brought me with her when her mother added him to the dam. The brochure recommends making this ritual a family tradition. Family traditions are likelier to get passed down from generation to generation with minimal resistance.

I program the coordinates, set the timer for three minutes. I walk over to where my dad’s strapped in, waiting for launch. I caress his face, run my fingers through what’s left of his hair. I kiss him on the cheek when the 30-second warning comes. I whisper in his ear: Don’t worry. I’ll make sure your grandson gets old enough to come live with you one day.

J. Bradley

J. Bradley

J. Bradley is the author of The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016) and the Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Will Revise A Memory (Robocup Press, 2016). He received his MFA from Lindenwood University.
J. Bradley

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