While on military campaign with The General
I finally got a chance to ask him a question that
had intrigued me since the beginning. “Sir,”
I said rather cautiously, “May I ask why you
always keep your right hand inside your coat
when riding toward a battle?” “Oh that!” he
responded a bit surprised. “It’s because of mother.
When I was a child she would immerse that hand
in ice-cold water to teach me never to make careless
mistakes. Eventually I needed to warm the hand
just to use it effectively. Though I hated the woman
who brought me into this world, I must admit she
made me what I am today.” With tears in my eyes,
I said to The General, “That is truly an inspiring story!”
And I decided to devote every fiber of my being to
help him win his campaign. “Vive la France!”
I said to The General as we mounted our horses---
and I followed him into battle. 

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. He's published five chapbooks including Zable's Fables with an introduction by the late great Beat poet Harold Norse. Present or upcoming writing in Toad Suck Review, Clarion, Kentucky Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Owen Wister Review, One Trick Pony, Ishaan Literary Review, Uppagus, Chaos Poetry Review, and many others.