Jim Meirose

Twenty Six Little Stories

Jack Rice, John
          Runs out in the road to wave cars to go slower. Worked at Ethicon with your Mother.
          Hi Mom.
          You’ve got cancer you say?
          Speak up. It’s three a.m., Mom—
          Did you say you have cancer?

          Eat up the drapes, the couch. Lick up the walls. Takes twenty minutes to burn it to the ground. Everything’s flammable.
          We’ve got a fire, Mack, says the fireman.
          Okay start the truck get dressed.
          Hurry up hurry up hurry hurry up.
          Everything’s flammable. Takes twenty minutes to burn it to the ground. Lick up the walls. Eat up the drapes, the couch—
          Shut the hell up and get dressed.

Swing one
          Put the child on that one. Yes on that first one. I’ll push a while, then you push.
          It’s good in the park.
          The breeze. The sun.
          The grass rippling in the breeze.
          The child gurgling, smiling, chucking.
          Oh we’re so full of love.
          So full of it.

          Slowly softly laps the shore, the sand. Go stick in your toe.
          It’s cold.
          What do you think the water temperature is.
          How should I know. Who ever knows that?

Slow down, Sam
          Pull your foot back off the pedal. The truck shudders to a stop.
          Sam gets out and pulls down his shotgun.
          He walks into the brush.
          He’s out here somewhere.
          He’s out here somewhere and I’m going to find him.
          There he is!
          He fires.
          Sam runs to see, puffing and huffing.
          Well god damn it I—
          He drops his shotgun, drops to his knees, throws his face in his hands, and cries.

          Pours in the kitchen window through the lace drapes. Fans across the floor. The dust motes drift in the midday. They sit drinking brandy. Want open marriage.
          Laura. Why did I have to end up with a husband like this?
          It’s a decision you made Anna. Here, pour me some more—
          Just keep on pouring.

Wave two
          Massive, destructive. Worse than the first. Run for high ground.
          Here it comes.
          Drowned bodies float in the pools.
          Drowned bodies lie in the foyers.
          Make a movie of it.
          Money from death.

          Close your open eyes in bed. Sleepy. Time to sleep. The sleep rises about you and drowns you to unconsciousness.
          It is now time to dream.
          You’re running. The field is multicolored. The flowers are neon.
          You run to the treeline. There’s a birds nest. You take it down.
          It’s full of maggots, bird lice, filth—
          Wake up with a stomach ache.

Marines, Mack
          March. March. Run and leap. Climb. Shoot. Shave. Boots. Waiting for war in the watchtower.
          Clean the rifles.
          Load the magazines.
          Oil up the fifty caliber.
          It’s a game, Mack.
          War’s a waiting game.

          Spin in the sky, in space. Spiraling along fast spinning too carrying lifeforms.
          Sit quietly reading in your chair.
          Lie down for a nap.
          While shooting in every direction at once at breakneck speed.

Truck three
          Unload it. Stack the boxes over there. On those pallets.
          Oh, not like that. Like this.
          Have a cigarette.
          You can smoke on the loading dock—whoah! No. Not there.

          Heavy fog. Drive through the heavy fog. Climb up it. See God. The golden throne. Step up. Ask God whatever you want. What do you want to know?
          If you could ask God just one question, what would it be?

Dog walk, David
          The fence all around the dog park. The balls. The poop. The dirt trampled bare. Growls. Fighting. Snarling. Crapping.
          They sit on the bench as their dogs run about.
          So Hall what’s new how was your week—here, have some coffee.
          I had a shitty week. How about you. Whoah, that’s enough—thanks. It’s chilly this morning. Whoah.
          I know.
          So how’s your dog?
          There he is.
          Okay—but how is he?

          Pale and round, high and silent. Face gazing down. Nothing to say.
          Interplanetary space.
          Cold and empty.
          Someday I’m going to go there, said Paul.
          The moon.
          Nobody goes to the moon any more.
          I suppose that’s true.
          Nothing to say.

Statue four
          Perseus in the foyer on the marble floor. A stupid purchase, that. From the flea market. Donna admired the statue.
          It is pretty, she told Gloria.
          Yeah—but you should wrap a towel around it—there.
          Oh Gloria don’t be foolish.
          It’s nature.

          Jagged pointed twinkling bits of cold white.
          The sky is black.
          The starshine throws shadows.
          That’s how many there are, out here, so far out in the high country, where there’s no pollution.
          Look at them. Look.
          Take another drag.

Flagpole, Frank
          The clank of the pulley on the ice cold spun aluminum. The railroad track. The school.
          Here. Run this up the pole.
          What? Why that?
          For a joke—come on.
          Do it.

          Dark press down. Chunks of dark falling down at dusk. Big pieces of night all around. Walk up the road in the twilight from the brook with your fishing pole.
          The smell in the air.
          The mud.

Hippo five
          That animal. That damned, grey, pooping animal.
          Dive in. Swim.
          Swim through it.
          It roils about you.
          This can’t be healthy.
          That damned, grey, pooping animal.

          The light writhing down filling, shadowing. Warmth. Rub your hands together in the light and smile.
          It is done, you think.
          It is done and I’m going to get away with it.

Flag, Fred
          Red white and blue stuck in the ground all around the house. On the holiday! All perfectly spaced. Probably paced off three steps between each one, or something like that.
          What’s the occasion?
          Memorial Day is next weekend—not now.
          Oh I’m patriotic all year round.

          Rolling, deep, heavy. Water balloons. Look down.
          There’s a cop.
          Drop it!
          Oh my God—

Fire six
          Into the office one at a time. You’re fired you’re fired you’re fired you’re fired you’re fired you’re fired—
          A shot rings out.
          He runs from the office.

          Solid surface pressing up against your soles. Hard, rocky. Dry. The air, the earth. One presses down, the other up.
          Keeping the ground steady in one place.

Lit, Larry
          The lamp, the bulb, the switch, the cord. Plug it in turn the switch. Fizzle goes the burnt out bulb.
          Turn out the bulb. Throw it in the trash.
          Go down the cellar.
          Stumble. Fall.

Larch seven
          Seven larches grown in a row. Roots deep in the dirt, intertwined. Many insects down there, many biting insects with pincers and stingers.
          Plant in the little tree.
          The eighth.
          How cute.

Jim Meirose's short work has previously appeared in Otoliths, and also in many other leading literary magazines and journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, South Carolina Review, and Witness.
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