He has the pushpin Excalibur stuck in his thumb.
Thirty years pass. No one can extract it until, one evening, a woman says, “Oh, ouch!” and pulls out the pin.
The music swells. The gods crown the woman. She gives speeches. The smiths forge iron. She wears the armor. She leads the troops. She crushes the enemy. She is victorious. She is betrayed. She falls. She is victorious despite this. Wounded, bleeding, she founds the Republic. She dies. She is victorious despite this. They measure her body for the sake of the artists, then they build a barge and sail her corpse east.
All the while he stands there, an old man sucking his thumb.
His fortune gone . . .
His fortune gone, the old man sat beside the tar volcano and watched the rocks fly from within. It was time for me to say something kind. I touched his shoulder and he leapt to his feet. “I was rich once!” he shouted, “and I can be rich again! Each bit of tar, each sticky rock contains one of my things! I can scoop up my fortune, my life!” He looked as if he felt young again, and I was afraid he would break his legs.*
*…I had to break his legs.
…I knew I had to break his legs.
…I knew he would break his legs.
…I wanted to break his legs.
…I wanted to shave my legs.
…I saw that I knew his legs better than I knew him.
…I knew I would have to redefine my concept of “leg.”
…I realized I no longer loved my own legs.
…I became angry at my legs.
…I carved the word “leg” into my leg.
…I sat down to analyze my leg.
…I canceled the premiere of my legs.
…I offered him the use of my legs.
…I wondered at the crystalline glory of my legs.
…I awarded myself a portrait of my legs.
…I pried off my kneecaps to pour him a draught of the effervescent content of my legs.
Danny's work has appeared in Kill Author, Northville Review and New American Writing. He is willing to move to New Orleans, Barcelona, or Brugges if you can offer him a suitable job.
"Ouch" made my day; I've come back to re-read it three times. Love this.ReplyDelete