The Bones of Texas City: An After the Fires Went Out Short Story

by Regan Wolfrom


Copyright © Regan Wolfrom 2012

I don’t have a problem with what I do. I don’t make the laws for the State of Bayou and I certainly don’t force people to break them. If you steal or hoard or badmouth the government, you’ll get your summons and you’d better come in, and you damn well better bring your family in with you. The sentence you’ll get may seem harsh, but it’ll be way worse if you don’t come in.

If you don’t come in they pass your name on to someone like me. It’s my job to make sure people like you no longer exist.


You can see from the Gulf Freeway why they should have left Texas City to die. The empty interstate only reaches down to the northwest tip of the city now, to what they still call Exit 16.

You get off there because there’s nowhere else to go, driving by a mall that never had better days, and more dead buildings after that, old gas stations from when we still had gas and big box grocery stores, where the food was left to rot for so long that there was nothing left to scavenge once people finally realized they ought to. I think it looks exactly like what will happen when the rest of us are gone, our old world picked clean until there’s nothing left but the bones.

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