He unscrewed his car’s radio aerial from the front fender and took it up as if it were a sword. He lunged forward with the blade outstretched as if thrusting at an opponent. Ducking an imagined swipe—sprightly for an old man—he sidestepped and withdrew. He only ever fought the air in his garage; it was stale and smelled of damp and skunk, which was enough of an offense. He held his sword, two-fisted, high above his head and brought it swooshing down, the tattered red ribbon at its end—a streak of blood?—fluttering and falling limp. With deep eyes and thin, expressionless lips, he stood above his wounded enemy, breathing him in. He knelt for a moment and put his hand on the ground, touched the soil and rubbed it in his palm, like he imagined the generals of old doing. The Battle of —’s Gravel Drive, they’ll call it, or Triumph at —’s Lean-to Garage. He clambered to his feet and wiped his aerial-sword clean on his shirt, then reattached it to his car as if he were putting it away in a velvet-lined case. He went inside, wiped his muddied feet, slipped on an old, dusty bed jacket—his wife’s—and heated a can of soup. He ate slowly in the darkening house.
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