Gabe Durham

Speak Up for a Treat

If you want fuss, I know a country where waiters will sing at you. If you come to this one place, it’s me and Dan and Danny and Pat and Dee and Allie who will sing. Then we applaud cause you made it, breathing and beating like you’re told to. Fitness helped, quenching helped, other deeds, and now you’re here. How good are you at happy? Or, I mean, how adaptable? Cause one year it’s graciousness—don’t fumble the bounty—and the next fourteen it’s stride—don’t hold your hands out like that. We don’t card so you might be faking and we’re pretty sure you are and you’ll never know we know, us being professionals. Singing away while presenting a flickering sundae with long shallow spoons to dilute the pleasure to all your little coconspirators. How we can tell is: real birthdayers emit a certain glow you don’t have. It’s their day, annexed for them. We could use a day—and believe me—we’d know what to do with it, the way our cheeks ache, the support our backs require.

Thanks Brother Dave for the Kind Introduction

Now heed. There was once a young man whose convictions led him to vegetarianism. At every feast he attended, even in the presence of potent men, he eschewed meat. What I’m getting at is: Are you daring to boldly go? Are you being spoon-fed, physically, in the spiritual sense? If you don’t have anything you would die for, where then emotionally do you make your bed? Was it not the One who Was who said, “You give them something to eat”? That abstinent young man’s name, by the way, was Hitler, but maybe we all could take a page—and hit the Devil with it. What’s your kampf? I mean that as a metaphor for struggle. You’re all at stake here, and I don’t mean Sizzler Billy I see Billy getting hungry over here don’t worry Billy not much longer. If you taste the voice of the Lord on your heart in this day or could just use someone to smack your lips at, won’t you come forward as we stand. And as we sing.

Gabe Durham lives in Northampton, MA. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Hobart, Keyhole, Fourteen Hills, The Lifted Brow, and elsewhere. These pieces are from a series called Fun Camp.

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