The Losing Battle

by Dana Parent

Shabby tourists, corralled safely behind the bulky spindles of an unraveling rope, blindly thrust their video recorders into a sea of uplifted arms to capture the sight of a cannon’s wrath splintering the enemy’s beleaguered sinking boat. Only the folks down front bristle in the fire warming their skin and cower in frightened unison as one battered mast splits and topples upon the stubborn captain refusing to abandon the soaked planks sagging under his feet. The remaining horde, jostling for a glimpse, must wait to revel in the action until they arrive home and sink into familiar, sullied couches and flip through the stacks of developed photographs. Some will linger to watch the mayhem replay on miniature iridescent camcorder screens before they wander up or down the strip or into the casino to waste untold riches in hopes of hitting a jackpot of innumerable nickels or quarters with the flick of a wrist. Tonight, a young man adrift in the mob flinches at every rumbling echo awakening his unsteady nerves. He doesn’t care about the show.


Dana Parent lives and writes in Richmond, Virginia. He occasionally tends a small garden there.