The gray wool ski cap James Henderson’s grandmother knitted for him when he was six and which was missing between the ages of eleven and fourteen was knocked clean off with the first blow. The second swing, coming only moments after the first and doing the most damage, broke three ribs and knocked the wind out of James Henderson. The only blood visible trailed from his right ear, staining his neck. Even as the assailant walked away, leaving James Henderson and the gray wool ski cap on the pavement, he could feel the tingle of contact up and down his arms.
This piece appeared in the second issue of Sleepingfish, which was staple-stitched and limited to 35 copies.
Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River. His fiction has appeared in dozens of publications and he teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute and Columbia University.