Saturday 6 June 2020

'Magic Bullet' by Bill Merklee

Nobody buys the bullshit of the magic bullet that tore through JFK and Governor Connally in 1963, but I’m telling you there are magic bullets in the world, at least as far back as 1896 when my grandfather is six years old running around one of the nicer houses in Dumont, New Jersey, with his little brother Harry, where he finds his father’s pistol under a pillow, his small hands struggling with the weight of it as he aims at his brother (because that’s what boys do — we all had guns and tried to outdo each other with our death throes), where the gun goes off and that bullet makes Harry three years old forever, makes their parents’ marriage disappear, turns my grandfather’s liver to stone, explodes his marriage into porcelain shards and broken faith, ricochets through his war-weary sons, lays him in an unmarked grave in Brooklyn, and finds me bullet-proof before my children.


  1. beyond poignant, Bill. Makes me think of those who bear witness to a 'magic bullet' somewhere, at some point in their lives.

  2. glad to see it published again - a powerful story that still resonates with me after the first reading.


2024 Wigleaf Longlisting

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