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What Remains by Jeffrey Zable

Having lunch with an old roommate, I ask him how his mother is doing and he answers that losing one of her two sons and her husband in little more than a year apart hasn’t been easy. He then goes on to say that his brother had taken out a life insurance policy for one million dollars and that it was stipulated that even if he killed himself, his family would get all the money. And when I comment that it seems his brother knew he was going to do it, he concurs, and reveals that he shot himself in a spot on his head that wouldn’t make such a mess, break up his skull, and cost more money to make him look good for an open casket viewing. And when I ask him if he was ever close to his brother, he professes that they weren’t even close when they were kids, as his brother was always the dramatic one, seeking attention through negative behavior. And finally, he acknowledges that it’s all very sad, but that most of the time he tries not to think about it...


Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban and Afro-Haitian folkloric music for dance classes around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing of his is in Red Eft, Rasputin, Ink In Thirds, Alba, Corvus, Tower Journal, Uppagus, Defuncted, Spelk, Chrome Baby, Former Cactus and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

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