Ben Loory

War and Peace

War and Peace had a complicated relationship — they’d been together for years. They lived in a shack way out on the edge of town — with War in there yelling all the time.

As for why he was yelling — he was usually unemployed; though he did sometimes work as a security guard. But he’d always get fired — usually for starting a fight — and then, of course, he’d stop off at the bar.

Peace herself didn’t often leave the house, but when she did, she was always dressed up to the nines. Or else she’d come sneaking in late at night, with a black eye, crying behind dark glasses, buying cigarettes.

Peace always claimed that War loved her more than anything, and the way she said it, you always wanted to believe.

He’s got a good heart, she’d say with a sad smile. And he just looks so nice in that uniform.

People never knew what to do about the situation, or indeed if they should do anything. But then one night War came home even drunker than usual, and after that, they didn’t have to make the decision.

Of course, War’d been fired again. He knocked Peace through a wall.

Then she made the mistake of running away.

War found her by the graveyard, trying to climb the fence, and he took a rock and he beat her head in.

Of course, he was arrested, but he got out on bail.

Don’t think he’s a flight risk, the judge said.

But that night, all alone in that shack on the edge of town, what he’d done to Peace, I guess went to War’s head.

He drank up all his beer, and then chased it with tequila, then he dug up his old footlocker from the woods.

He cleaned and oiled and loaded all his weapons, then he stood up and walked out the door.

He had a bullet-proof vest on, and a backpack full of hand grenades, a shotgun, an assault rifle, and three pistols. He walked straight into town, killed the lawyers and the judge, and then he followed that up with everyone.

He started at the school — he shot down all the children — and then he went and did the old folks’ home.

Then he wandered through the streets, killing people just at random.

He kept going until he’d killed absolutely everyone.

And finally, in the end, when the town was cold and still, War stopped, and he gathered up the bones.

And from them, War fashioned himself a new Peace.

She was sleeping in his arms as he brought her home.