Leah Browning: “Brute”

He was the type of person who was always getting into bar fights. It was an easy way to get rid of some aggressive energy, and there was often an explanation that let him come out looking like a good guy. He’d been defending someone’s honor, let’s say. Every time you ran into him, it seemed, his knuckles were taped. 
He and his roommates lived in an apartment building just down the street from a fire station. In that city, firefighters were first responders at everything from highway collisions to your garden-variety home accidents. Day and night, the garage door rolled up and sirens began to scream. 
Why don’t you move, I asked, and he just shrugged. I didn’t push the issue. If you must know, I had discovered that he was an adrenaline junkie in all the ways that mattered. He pulled my hair, clung to the headboard, did everything but hang upside-down as sirens oscillated outside, growing louder and louder, and the engines roared past the open windows.

Leah Browning is the author of three nonfiction books and six chapbooks. Her most recent chapbook of short fiction is Orchard City, a collection published by Hyacinth Girl Press in 2017. Browning’s work has appeared in Four Way ReviewNewfoundValparaiso Fiction ReviewWatershed ReviewThe Stillwater Review, and elsewhere. 


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