Plain and Simple by Ian Willey

I wonder what it would be like to be the parent of one of those minor characters who gets killed off early on in movies like Predator and Kong: Skull Island. How do they react when a pair of men in sunglasses drop by their homes in a post-credits scene to break the news by handing over a memento from their son? The parent may hold up the keychain/dog tags/embossed lighter and say, “well, my son served a crucial role in defining the monstrous nature of the adversary, making the protagonist’s eventual victory all the more significant. I am proud of him.” The men in sunglasses step back and snap a salute as a trio of F-16s traverse the bluescreen sky. One of them says, “your son was a hero.” But everyone there knows the truth. Only a select few can be heroes. The men in sunglasses were never heroes. They merely survived. The boy was a plot device, plain and simple, and the parents are left without a body to bury, in a scene certain to be cut from the final reel.

Ian Willey is a communications specialist residing in the inland sea area of Japan. He has published hundreds of short-form poems and his somewhat longer work has appeared in Dime Show Review, One Sentence Poems, and Mobius.

Photo by Sasha Freemind

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