8 min readAug 30, 2021


Shamble On

Brad Foster, 2021 ©

I forgot my name again.

That sometimes happens when I wake up. I force my arm towards my pocket. My hand has other ideas and grabs up the fabric as if to strangle it.

STOP IT!!!” I yell at my hand. I know that’s what I think, but to anyone nearby, it’d sound like an angry, rumbling growl.

My hand (can I really call it mine anymore?) defies me by ripping the pocket and most of the right side of my pants off. In league with the arm, it chucks the wad of cloth against a wall blackened from a long-ago fire.

NO! I hear a soft ting-tink of something metal clattering nearby.

My legs still listen to me, so I stumble over to the mounds of rubble to chase something. I don’t recall right this moment what it is, but I know it’s very important.

My legs jerk out and my feet tangle under me. It won’t be much longer before they join the mutiny. I topple onto a pile of ruined masonry where jagged shards of dusty, grime-covered glass jut out and slice gouges in my stomach and legs.

My ears and eyes haven’t betrayed me yet. If anything, they’ve sharpened to a fine edge that could slice through bone and flesh. My stomach rumbles and I force my thoughts towards the object I’m after. If I dwell too long on those other thoughts, it won’t only be me that they consume.

I see it! I shove my arm towards the glint down in the pool of darkness. My fingers touch it and threaten to push it away, maybe in a crevasse that I’ll never reach.

I concentrate as hard as I’ve ever done and will my fingers to close around the small, smooth object. Slowly, I’m able to get my arm to pull back. I lurch off the pile, tumbling onto more broken glass but I’m on the floor now. I can safely open my hand. It takes a long while to pry them open. I see the heart-shaped locket. A groan rattles in my throat when I see fresh scratches on its golden luster.

I paw at it until finally, the hinge gives way. I hear a snap and one of the sides hangs loose. The small photo doesn’t fall out, as it’s wedged into the depression. I see a smiling man and woman, embracing each other on a beach. On the other side, I can still understand the inscription.




This is what I do: I drink and I write things.