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  13 Draft Lottery July 1, 1970 Behind the meat locker, crammed into a tiny office, the staff of the Taco King huddled about a blurry black and white screen. Larry’s 4F, polio-twisted hand held mine, I held Terry’s, Charlene held fast to Dennis, sweat dripped from his nose, the drops mirrored blue shadows on his forehead and around his eyes. Paul, younger and trying for West Point, stood guard for customers. Fate circled and spun, old men called up the young. The lives of Dennis, Charlene’s young husband, my boyfriend, and Terry tumbled in two cages, numbers drawn at random. July gripped the pavement, hunkered down and hovered, the Hardees across the parking lot shimmered a mirage, the world beyond a blur. No customers came, perhaps glued to televisions numbering their sons. July 9, the first call, my birthday. If a boy, I would have packed for induction or Canada. We stifled nervous giggles as the draw droned on: Number 22, Dennis out of school, out of options, slid to the floor. We pulled him out of the close air, Paul took him. Number 57 called Charlene’s husband, she gripped her belly, shaking. We quit watching at 150, Terry’s number, my boyfriend’s never called. 14   In the light, Paul cradled Dennis, spread cold paper towels across his peachy freckles. We grew up trained to duck and cover, wary of Sputnik’s eye. The red glare of Mars raged greedy that year. Paul climbed to West Point, Dennis came home with a habit, Charlene’s baby never saw his father, a bumper crop from the crew that huddled behind the meat locker at the Taco King. ...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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