A Collection by T.L. Krawec
The people reach the desert at noon and try to drink the sand. While it crests like waves in slow undulations it is not water and the people spit it out. It is bad, the children repeat, I will not put it in my mouth. The people are still crossing when the next noon comes and there is nothing else to drink. The leader asks the sun for help until staring at it blinds him and he starts jumping to the sky, shouting, pointing, for there is blue up there and that is the water that the gods grant if only the tribe can reach it.
The President is pale. He shakes for his people. He dedicates each drop as they pull it from him and says it is for the victims of a country which is at war with itself. When he is empty the nurse opens the curtain and men in black drag away his husk. Photographs drop out of his pocket from his kicking, signed by someone else's hand, and they show a time when he used to look alive. Now he is bleached bones covered in canvas and a beachcomber could haul him home in a storm with one good arm. The wind picks him up and he knocks against a window like a party balloon: the men in black stretch up to catch him and mutter We'll need a new one soon. The President is pale but he is battling: come and get your piece before he forgets how to live, he is shuddering and shaking but he makes a rattling like there is still something deep inside that he could give.