Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Damned Eleven

by Jim Meirose Issue 24 11.29.2010

Jenkins steps up to the wall of the tool shed and raps on it three times.

For luck, he tells The Other.

The Other smiles narrow-eyed.

Luck is nonsense, he says.

Jenkins scowls and steps back, bends over to the side, and hurls the dice once more.

Eight! he says, snapping his fingers.

The Other leans against the tree once more. The rough-barked black tree trunk is swarming with tiny black ants but The Other is oblivious.

Makes sense you would throw an eight now, says The Other. There are five different ways to roll an eight. Second highest next to a seven.

Jenkins lowers his eyebrows as he stoops to get the dice.

It’s the odds, continues The Other. The odds is what does it, what makes it all happen. Luck is just odds working.

Once more Jenkins clears his throat loudly and spits into the dust. He shakes the dice.

How’re the kids, Dale asked Builder, leaning back and throwing his arm over the back of the cheap unpainted wooden chair, trying to act casual. Builder looked up toward Dale for an instant then looked back down into the book again and quickly turned a page.

—dark wedge sliding up in the long white tube makes—

In the American Clocks eighteen hundred to eighteen sixty section of the museum there stands a reversed curve American clock of fine maple with copper fittings.

You know that is a beautiful clock over there, says Aunt Mary, from her rocker. It’s a shame it doesn’t work.

Her large husband puts his newspaper down in his lap and turns to her.

Its not that it doesn’t work, Mary—we just don’t wind it. That’s all.

He resumes reading his paper, as she rocks.

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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.