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Love in the Time of Valkyries by Melanie Browne | Word Riot
Flash Fiction

December 15, 2009      

Love in the Time of Valkyries by Melanie Browne

Listen to a podcast of Melanie Browne’s “Love in the Time of Valkyries.”

We both loved movies about The Vietnam War. Apocalypse Now, most of all.

He liked to pretend to be Col. Kurtz, and he liked to watch me dance to Suzy Q, a feather in my hair.

We met in the line to get lottery tickets. I bought a couple of scratch cards and sat down on the curb, used a pinky nail to uncover my losses.

“Shit.” I said.

That’s when he joined me.

“The Horror.”¬† He said. “TheHorror.”

Kurtz’ last words, his first to me.

Things became intense, then very intense very quickly. I tried to pretend that it didn’t mean anything.

I told myself that my lust for him was exactly that: lust-for-him; not enough to see us through.

Still, we moved in together. We even considered marriage for awhile.

I wanted a big Russian wedding, like Steven and Angela in The Deer Hunter.

People would carry us around on their shoulders. There would be singing and dancing and tons of food.

Things didn’t happen that way.

I found out he was cheating on me with a girl he met at the bingo hall.

I was heartbroken.

He didn’t answer when I asked what her favorite movie was.

After it ended, I couldn’t watch Nam movies for a long time. I cried whenever I heard ¬†Creedence on the radio.

The next guy I dated didn’t complain about the camo sheets, the Wagner even, and he preferred heels to boots.

About the author:

Melanie Browne has been published in various online journals such as Word Riot, Cherry Bleeds, and Madswirl. Her first Chapbook, Heaven is a Giant Pawn Shop, is published by Erbacce Press. She lives in Texas with her husband and children.

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