Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Damned Eleven

by Jim Meirose Issue 24 11.29.2010

English Domestic Clocks in the museum are dominated by the Ebony Longcase Clock in the corner. Look how beautiful it is, how tall and straight. The owners are so lucky to have it—and the sound of its gong drifts softly throughout the house and sinks into all the nooks and crannies in the old dry wood. The people in the house smile at the comfortingly familiar yet impressive sound.

Having finished shaking the dice, Jenkins once more crouches down and throws the dice against the wall of the tool shed. They come to rest.

Three, he says, lifting a fist—craps!

So what does that mean? says The Other, narrow-eyed. Do you even know what that means?

Well, says Jenkins. I know that it means—

No you don’t—you think you do, but you don’t, says The Other, raising a hand and interrupting. He takes a step, raising the dust from the powdery bare dirt covering the ground. He comes up to Jenkins and points into his chest.

I bet you don’t know that if this had been the come-out roll, the game would now be over and bets on the pass line would lose and bets on the don’t pass line would win, unless the don’t pass line says bar and the roll is the indicated value, in which case the bet pushes.

The Other steps back, folding his arms. Jenkins goes and stoops and picks up the dice and glowers back at The Other.

I knew all that, he says.

No—I doubt you know it.

The Other looks away toward a passing black sedan.

How’s the wife? said Dale across the long table to Builder, breaking the ice. Ignoring Dale, Builder leaned back and crossed one leg over the other and turned a page of the book. Builder wore tan shoes with long laces.

—the largest parallax ever measured amounts to only point eight seconds of arc—

Builder shook his head and flexed his fingers on the book. Dale glared.

The English watches section of the museum is dominated by the Bennett Sun and Moon watch. Legend has it that P.J. Walters was buried wearing one. What a pity how they bury them; with jewelry worth a lot of money and watches running smoothly and also worth a lot of money and with golden stickpins and cufflinks and highly polished expensive black shoes in thick-skinned high-priced bronze coffins.

All wasted, thinks the mortician, sealing shut the coffin. Tall candles stand lit at each end of it.

All wasted. What a Goddamned shame.

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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.