Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Damned Eleven

by Jim Meirose Issue 24 11.29.2010

Jenkins shakes the dice, blows into his hand, shifts his weight from one leg to the other and quickly snaps the dice out across the air against the wall of the shed again.

Six! he exclaims, pointing into the air.

An ant from the tree is crawling across The Other’s chest and another down his arm. The Other raises his arm to make a point and unknowingly shakes the ant off onto the ground.

Well, there are five ways to roll a six—just like an eight, says The Other. So it was to be expected.

The fallen ant makes its way across the dust toward the base of the tree. The other ant reaches The Other’s shoulder and crawls around onto his back across the wrinkles of his red shirt. Another ant comes off the tree, onto The Others’ plain blue pants, and heads around toward the crotch, but it too falls off into the dirt.

Odds is science. There’s no luck.

Dale laid his arm across the table as he spoke to Builder. The bare bulb above glowed down on them.

I got a new job, he said. Want to know what it is? It pays good. Really good.

Builder shoved his chair back from the table with a loud scraping of dry wood on linoleum and grunted and again glanced at Dale before looking down at the book in his lap and turning the page again.

—the small magellanic cloud—

In the clockmaker’s workshop of the museum there is a lathe. A table by the lathe holds gouges and other tools. A small grey-haired man in an apron is busy counting a stack of small dark boards in the corner of the room. A regulator clock hangs proudly on the wall. Every clockmaker has a regulator clock to set all the other clocks by. It must be carefully kept set at the proper time. It must never be allowed to stop. The small grey-haired man in the apron counts through the boards in time with the loud ticking from the regulator clock. A large sundial catches sunlight in the grassy yard outside.

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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.