Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Damned Eleven

by Jim Meirose Issue 24 11.29.2010

Jenkins winds up and quickly bounces a four off the side of the tool shed.

Four, he says stooping to pick up the dice.

The odds are holding, says The Other, rubbing harder at his crotch now. There are three ways to roll a four.

But I was hoping for an eleven, says Jenkins.

The Other shrugs. The ant on his shoulder climbs up his collar and goes down under his shirt onto his neck. The Other’s hand comes up, scratching.

Damn! he says, as he scratches at his crotch and his neck.

What’s the matter? says Jenkins.

I don’t know, says The Other, glancing up at the tree. Something must be falling on me out of this tree. Damn!

He slaps at his neck. The ants crawl and the ones on the tree crawl in spirals up the trunk over the rough bark as if looking for something that they will never find.

Dale got up off the floor and made for the door, rubbing at his face.

I could sue you for hitting me like that, he says. You know that don’t you? I could sue—

He stood holding the door open waiting for some answer, but Builder just sat at the table and turned the pages of his book again.

Damn you! said Dale.

—at distances of eight million light years we encounter the first of the “external” nebulae—

Dale left the room slamming the door behind him, flakes of paint and bits of wood flying out into the room and scattering across the floor.

Builder turned the page.

And again.

And again.

continue: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Jim Meirose

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Jim Meirose’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in many leading literary magazines including Alaska Quarterly Review, South Carolina Review, New Orleans Review, and others. One of his stories which appeared in OASIS was short-listed for the 1997 O Henry Awards. His work has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.