We saw the spray paint on the pavement. Lines and arrows. A football diagram. Stage directions. This, the X said, is where the bicyclist died. This is where the car came spiraling to a halt. This is where the driver sank to his knees and cried out. This is where a passerby called the police with a calm she didn’t know she had. This is where a renegade dog on an early morning mission smelled the fear and turned back toward home. This is where a butterfly, freshly molted, landed on the dead man’s face, drawn there by the blood.


Merrill Montgomery is never more than 10 feet away from a diet soda, has a tortoise named Francis, and might, one day, amount to something.

Photo credit: Dylan H0well

2 Responses to “Playbook”

  1. What a powerful story. I’m so glad to have read this. The imagery, the rhythm, the way it builds toward the end, and — a butterfly in blood? Now, that’s going to stay with me.

  2. Rhonda Shary says:

    Wonderful story, Merrill. Impeccable timing, butterflies in blood, just wow. Loved it. LOVED it. thanks for it.

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