Jim Meirose – CAMERON’S ON CALL

The beeper goes off. Plunge out of bed into slacks and a shirt. Planners. Given the facts they can do well. Given lies they will not. Hurt it off. Cry. Bring the teats to the Phillies. Get in the car, go! Go on really doing it until Tundro stops you. Tundro say do dis. Tundro say do dat. Hurry hurry hurry eels. Catch a big, squirming eel. Handle the damned thing. Be not afraid as you would be now. They come up out of the can. Can of eels. The Sorrows of Young Werther. Kraken the deep; hurry, hurry. Go up the hill. Come down again. Hang the men from the lamp-posts. George. George Goethe. Break the studs. Rattle the thing. By god, she said—what the hell are you doing. He stopped hammering and looked up, hammer lifted. What? he said. What’s wrong with doing this? And again he began to hammer the thing flat. Go to hell! He shouts. I have a right to do this! I can destroy this as well as do anything else, so why not destroy it? Hammer. Stick it up the shin. Give the less for the more will follow. Give the more and the less will follow. Cry out in the thing, while you are riding in the thing, in the midst of it, tamper free and waterproof, it stands; give more to get the better one, and ask for the best they have. Hung up on this thing, he throws the fit of an age. Grow liars up the friendly place. Throw the crap all over the goddamned place. Worry the handlers of the cat in the river bottom embedded. Up in the corner. What the hell are you doing, she says—why are you hammering on that? That’s mine! Give the bad one for the good one any day. Ride the car. Violets. Violet is her name. Purple is darker—plus the good ones have all been given away. Harry rode up on his white horse and came into the place like he owned it. Beer! he shouted—Beer! Tamper free the next one and we will serve you up the best foods, but tamper free none and starve. Bean the man. Put on the beanie and spit in the food—freshly sliced and all, the head cheese lies there. A platter of head cheese sandwiches. Gone in the river of time is the cat, gone on the waves of the fresh bait in the world and the winter is the snow has the cover it mound. Fresh bait, he cried! Fresh bait! he cried. Wolf down the food and swallow it whole so as to get past the taste quickly. Friday. Make a run on it. Give the dryer the fart. Buy your appliances online, sight unseen. Five hundred is about to be broken. Do the thing up right. Close the platter, wrap the food saran-style. Beanies. Beanies. Bean bag beanie man. Do dat, said Turf—Do dat an den we will see. Cry out! Cry out in style! Pull the legs of the common man. Crank the gears of the gizmo contraption. Don’t take any crap—don’t! Reilly Roman. This is his name—Reilly Roman! The Ballad of Reilly Roman! is the title. Pound the disk drive with a five pound sledge. That’ll do it. And fry the other side. Do it up frog. Race for the finish—for the finish of the race. He ran. And he ran and ran. Able to run. Sweaty. Cocky. When you were able to run, you ran. He moved quickly to the stern, the bow was awash. So—Reilly Roman, eh? You expect us to believe that’s your real name?
Yes—yes it is—
So what were you doing sneaking around the place?
I wasn’t—
Yes you were—you didn’t belong there—
I did belong there I—
No you didn’t! Don’t lie! Why were you there?
I work there.
You expect us to believe that?
Well, yes—check the register. You’ll see I signed in—
That means nothing—anyone can sign in.
I am an employee! Call extension 3579! They’ll tell you—
There’s nobody here at night. Listen, why don’t you just tell us why you were really here.
I am an employee!
There are no employees here at three in the morning.
Well I was—I am! Come up—I can show you my desk—
We can’t let you go back up. The cops will be here soon. We’re turning you over to them.
The cops? Why?
For trespassing.
Look—listen—I got to tell you—I needed to get some things ready for the morning, that’s why I came in—
Oh and you expect us to believe you are planning to come back here in the morning?
Yes I am.
That’s unbelievable.
It might be unbelievable—but its true.
Reilly Roman—you expected us to believe that’s your name—
You know you two are going to be in big trouble in the morning.
Oh? How so?
For not believing me.
Let me in let me in let me in NOW!
No way—now get out of here before we call the police—
I’m on call—I need to get up there—
On call for what?
On call in case of trouble with the tables.
What tables?
The system tables.
What are the system tables?
Never mind—just do the damned tables okay?
Christians. Good christians gone bad. Rub around the stick. The ballad of Reilly Roman. Crusts on the plate. He eats around the crust, like a child would. Well—he will go down nonetheless. Age free are you. Tundish. Grow up now. Grow up and take the music like a man. You don’t belong here—you never did. Why did you lie to us about it? The wart makes the man you know. The wart makes the man. Go back home and out of the slacks and shirt and go to sleep knowing you have solved another problem.

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My work has appeared in numerous journals, including the Fiddlehead, Witness, Alaska Quarterly review, and Xavier Review, and has been nominated for several awards. Two collections of my short work have been published and my novels, “Claire” and “Monkey” are available from Amazon.

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