20090515

Jim Meirose


A Teacher, a Package of Cocaine, and Two Dozen Eggs

           The bell rings; Pappy enters the classroom and taps his rubber tipped pointer against the blackboard to call the class to order.
           Miss Carla drives her Mini to the supermarket.
           The first dozen eggs are purchased and divided between Walter and Lucas.
           Operator assistance? Operator assistance, says Pappy, is—
           A package of cocaine wrapped in duct tape changes hands.
           The meat slicer goes zzzing, the white towel is draped over her arm as she stands slicing the cold cuts, the slicer has a porcelain covered solid steel base and a super sharp blade.
           Lucas hurls the first egg at Walter from his hiding place behind the chair. It strikes the upturned table that Walter crouches behind.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           Irwin, Piggy’s buddy, owes Kidd thirty thousand for the cocaine. In the great glitzy high rise office suite, Piggy stands before Kidd’s high-gloss desk. Kidd drums his fingers on the desktop.
           Binary is all ones and zeroes, explains Pappy.
           Kidd leans forward and points into Piggy’s chest.
           I’ll kill you if you don’t find Irwin and get my money from him, says Kidd. You know you’re skating on thin ice with me, too, Piggy.
           Very good is the best grade a schoolchild can get in Scandinavia, says Pappy.
           Miss Carla parks and walks into the market through the double glass doors.
           A shaken Piggy goes to Irwin’s favorite bar up the hill. He goes in nervously fingering his car keys in his coat pocket.
           The fingertip is sewn back on, covering the bone, bloodless is the finger getting stitches while smoking a cigarette gotten from Dr. Morehead.
           Walter hurls the second and third eggs at Lucas. One lands short—one splats on the chair.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           Piggy asks Solly the fat bartender Did Irwin come in here today?
           Another dozen eggs lie in a grey box for sale atop many others.
           Miss Carla pulls up her shopping cart, picks up the box and opens it.
           No, but his girl did, says Solly, his face half in shadow.
           Penny you mean?
           Right. Penny.
           The 2 Pallas asteroid shoots through space at breakneck speed, states Pappy.
           Piggy goes to see Irwin’s girl Penny at her apartment down on Main, above Bill and Betty’s tavern, which has since burnt down.
           South River High School has wire mesh glass in the door windows on the way in to the basketball hoops.
           Lucas hurls the fourth egg at Walter, and parts his hair. It slams into the wall behind him.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           Penny lets him in. She’s a tall girl. Piggy says to her Where is Irwin?
           Shakespeare was born and died on the same calendar day, points out Pappy.
           Miss Carla runs her finger up and down the eggs to check that none are broken; an old trick.
           Unknown to Piggy, the package of cocaine is changing hands again.
           Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! Off with their heads! The shave of your lives, citizens! exclaims Pappy.
           Irwin’s girl calls Irwin. Come over, she says—Piggy’s here. He needs to see you.
           And tell him to come here right now—
           Hear that Irwin? Come here right now.
           Teenage Frankenstein plays on the movie screen before the screaming teenagers.
           Walter hurls the fifth egg at Lucas. It splatters over him when it hits the chair rail.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           Irwin comes to her apartment. He scrapes his heavy boots on the door mat.
           Istanbul Turkey’s old, says Pappy—very very old.
           Miss Carla flips the box of eggs shut and places it in her cart.
           Irwin, says Piggy. Where’s Kidd’s cocaine?
           I sold it.
           Caesar Augustus!
           For how much? says Piggy.
           The Tingler stars Vincent Price, it clutches your backbone, it’s a crawler and a squeezer and a killer if you can't scream to make it shrink away.
           Lucas hurls the sixth and seventh eggs at Walter. They splatter on the wall, hard.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           Thirty thousand, says Irwin.
           George M. Cohan danced well, says Pappy.
           Miss Carla buys a great ham and places it in the cart atop the eggs.
           So give the money here, says Piggy—it’s Kidd’s. He sent me here for it.
           Battlestar Galactica is a franchise, points out Pappy.
           I don’t have it, says Irwin, in a small voice.
           In Summer the boy bounces the basketball in the concrete driveway in front of the garage surrounded by the chain link fences ringing the back yard that sits all clean, alone.
           Walter hurls the eighth egg at Lucas. It hits him in the forehead. He reels.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           What do you mean you don’t have it? says Piggy angrily.
           Aubrey Holes ring Stonehenge, says Pappy.
           Miss Carla buys a big box of Coke and places it in the cart atop the eggs.
           I used it to pay off my gambling debts, says Irwin. Right honey? he says to his girl—we’ve got big gambling debts—listen, Piggy—they were going to get me if I didn’t pay, I had to pay them, Piggy—they’d break my legs—
           Weisbaden’s in Germany, states Pappy.
           Jesus Christ, says Piggy, throwing down his hat—is there any money left over?
           Miss Carla puts more heavy things in the cart.
           There’s a crunch in the cart too low to hear.
           In Winter the boy plays darts in the cellar, near the hot boiler, near the low deep dark space in the brick walls, under the bare bulb, alone.
           Lucas hurls the ninth egg at Walter. It strikes his shoulder.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           A couple thousand, says Irwin. Kidd can have that—
           The USS John F. Kennedy floats, though it’s massive, chuckles Pappy.
           Thinking twice, Miss Carla stops and rearranges her cart and places the eggs on top.
           That was close, she thinks.
           Kidd will kill us both, says Piggy—you got to get all the money back—
           The Kulin People are primitive, says Pappy.
           —or no, better yet—come with me to see Kidd and tell Kidd what you did.
           On the television in the upstairs cozy room the white gorilla crashes through the tall weeds, the gorilla's big hands wave on the B&W TV that also shows movies about the abominable snowman.
           Walter hurls the tenth and eleventh eggs at Lucas. They splat on the chair, they spatter his face.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           Come on, get your coat—let’s go—
           What do you mean? He’ll kill me—
           78 RPM records spin and spin, states Pappy.
           Miss Carla goes to the checkout and places all her items on the belt, the eggs first.
           So why the hell did you do it then? He sent me to get you, Irwin—he sent me to get you and bring you back—
           The Chukwu Octuplets are little bruisers, I’m told, explains Pappy..
           Piggy pulls a gun. Come on, he says—we’re going to see Kidd—
           The boy tries making a crank call to the white house.
           Lucas hurls the twelfth egg at Walter and gets him in the gut.
           God damn you Lucas!
           Damn you Walter!
           No, says Irwin. We’re not going anywhere—
           He and Piggy scuffle—Irwin’s girl tries to stop them—
           Jerry Rice’s a ballplayer, states Pappy.
           The checker points out to Miss Carla an egg is broken. Miss Carla is dismayed.
           Piggy’s gun fires into one of the three.
           Alfred North Whitehead’s a philosopher, points out Pappy.
           And two get on a train that night—to go far, too far to reach, safe.
           Walter and Lucas’ dozen eggs are gone.
           God bless you Walter!
           Bless you Lucas!
           Miss Carla goes back to get an unbroken dozen as the checker slides the broken eggs into a large plastic lined cardboard trash barrel set to the side. Miss Carla leaves the store happy.
           The bell rings; Pappy puts down his rubber tipped pointer and leaves the classroom.





Jim Meirose's short work has appeared in many leading literary magazines such as Alaska Quarterly Review, Witness, South Carolina Review, and New Orleans Review.
His work has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was cited in the
O.Henry Awards Anthology. A collection of his work has been published but is
currently out of print.

 
 
 
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