Drive me back to Kansas, to Conway Springs. If it’s winter when we arrive, wait for a blizzard. Any other time of year, I’ll want a thunderstorm and green sky with hail—better yet, a tornado. It may be a day or two before the weather turns, so get us a room at the Siesta Motel down in Wellington—the one with the splintered Chinese elms, the salvage yard on the north and a wide, clear view to the west. The view’s the main thing. You can pick up burgers and root beer at the A&W, feed me and watch CNN, stick it out until the wind shifts and black clouds choke the horizon. Those clouds are your cue. When they muscle up, get me dressed and haul me to Conway— to the graveyard, then south on the dirt road to Slate Creek Pasture, where I used to roam. Stop there, but keep the engine running. Order me to get out. If I resist, tell me you’re my mother. Threaten to take me to Wichita, to the Boys’ Department at Henry’s to try on Easter outfits with itchy jackets and matching knee-high pants. When my feet touch the ground, they’ll know what to do. Don’t come after me. Watch me slip through the barbed wire fence and run for the creek. Watch me disappear into hail the size of baseballs, the fury of a funneled sky. ---
Justin Hunt grew up in rural Kansas and lives in Charlotte, NC. His work has won several awards and appears in a wide range of publications in the U.S., Ireland and the U.K., including Five Points, Barrow Street, River Styx, New Ohio Review, Nimrod, Terrain.org, and The Bridport Prize Anthology.