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Ashes, by Kevin Wilson

The day of my tenth high school reunion, a bunch of us decided not to go and instead just bought a keg of beer and sat in Danny Painter’s basement and played darts. We were all still living in Coalfield, and it seemed weird to show up at the high school gym and act like this was some unique experience for us, to be back in town. Besides, the people we wanted to see would not know who we were.

I wasn’t drinking because I had stopped drinking four or five years ago. I’d never had a problem with alcohol, but I had worse problems, like the constant urge to set myself on fire or daydreams about killing everyone at work or cutting up my mouth with a piece of glass and then spitting all of the blood into a hole I had just dug in the ground. I was on heavy medication and it reacted badly with booze, so I gave it up. It was better, I surmised, to be sober and not killing everyone around you than it was to be slightly buzzed and covered in gore. My therapist said this was an important distinction and that she was proud of me. It made me happy even though I knew, from the few times we’d run into each other in public, she was a little afraid of me.

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