This article is taken from Stand 234, 20(2) July - September 2022.

Stewart Manley Happy Thoughts (a work of fiction)
They were calling it genocide.

The General plopped down into the plush beige leather. Cool air from the vents swept over his knees like a vice. He reached for his kerchief but before he could wipe his brow, the sweat had dissipated into the crisp interior of the S-Class. He loosened his belt a notch.


The young driver was watching him in the rear-view mirror.

‘Yes, let’s go.’

The sound that left his dry throat was soft. A murmur.

The boy, again.


The General’s right arm tightened. He had crushed boys like this, many a time. They trembled when he approached. But today would be different, he knew. Today his wings would be clipped. Today these boys would snicker behind his back. How could they call it genocide?


The boy diligently shifted to drive, but then pushed the pedal too sharply, causing a quick jerk forward. Overcompensating, the car jolted back and forth. The boy braked to an idling rest. Reaching around the headrest and tightening his massive fingers, the General felt the boy’s breath stop. He held steady until he felt the two streams – breath and blood – pulse over his calluses. He looked in the mirror. Scalp was visible beneath the crew cut, a small vein throbbing at the temple.

The General relaxed his grip and, after a few moments of silence, the car crept down the shady driveway, past ...
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