I don’t know how it happens. Days will go by, sometimes months, once even a whole year without incident. And then, one day, I wake up and there they are again: hundreds of Confederate war monuments, all crammed beneath my bed where the cat likes to hide and puke.
I don’t know where they come from, or why they’ve chosen my bed to retreat to. But they always have, my whole life. I assumed this was normal, that from time to time, everyone woke up to find Confederate war monuments looking back at them from underneath their beds. I never thought to ask anyone else about their Confederate war monuments, or if they were the same as mine. I had all of the famous ones, and the rare ones too. They all had that sad stone look in their eyes. Most of them had mustaches and looked like criminals.
The first time I found them, I was real little. I had cut my foot on a stray bayonet. My mom came in after she heard me wailing and said, “What’s the matter?” She looked down and saw all of the Confederate war monuments lying there and sighed. “Well alright, then,” she said, and proceeded to drag them each out by their ankles, thousands of pounds of stone and brass, and put them in the garbage can. The lid didn’t fit so they all sat there, looking back into my window.
A few years later, I decided to use a bean bag for a bed. I was getting old enough to make my own decisions and it seemed safe: the Confederate war monuments hadn’t come back for years. But the first night I slept on it, they returned, cavalry swords in hand. The Confederate war monuments punctured my bean bag and its guts spilled into one big pile. They were buried under a mountain of tiny white pellets. You could only see the brims of their grey stone kepi hats.
In the morning when my mom came in and saw the mess and the Confederate war monuments, she said, “That’s it, we’re getting you a futon.” Mom enlisted Dad to help with the Confederate war monument removal, back out to the garbage cans, and I ran the vacuum cleaner. It wasn’t a big deal. After, we all watched the Western channel together on TV.
They started showing up more frequently after that, though, maybe once or twice a month. I was getting older, and so were my parents. They were tired of dragging the Confederate war monuments out of my room for me. They asked me to start taking some responsibility and take care of them myself. And so I did, when I remembered to. Sometimes I’d forget and the Confederate war monuments would get covered up in dirty underwear and the crumbs of old food. Before I moved out, they made me double check that I didn’t miss any under there.
Now, they appear almost every day. Try as I might, I can’t keep up with their removal. Every morning, there are more and more. After the space beneath the bed was filled, they took to lining the closet, stacking up in the bathtub, commandeering the condiment door of the refrigerator. I even found some hiding in my bookcase, using big classic American literature texts as cover. No matter what I do, there are always more. Like bed bugs.
The apartment has begun to be claimed entirely by Confederate war monuments. Cleaning is a lost cause. It’s a shame too: it’s my first apartment. All they do is drink sangria and listen to NASCAR on the radio real loud. None of them ever apologize. They stare at me relentlessly. I can’t tell what they are waiting for. But, to the losers go the statues, or so I’ve learned.
I’ve gotten so goddamn tired of looking after Confederate war monuments that I sat them all down and had them fill out job applications. We fudge a little and don’t check the box for “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” For special skills, they all write “Rebel-rousing.”
They’ve been taken on immediately at Chick-fil-A. Everyone is thanking me for my participation, but really, it’s been my pleasure.