Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Damned Eleven

by Jim Meirose Issue 24 11.29.2010

Dale had finally had enough. He rose and went around the table and stood over Builder and raised an open hand.

Builder—listen—why don’t you want to talk to me? You always talked to me before—what’s the matter?

Builder simply sat impassively without looking up, once more turning the bright pages of his black and grey book.

—vast multitude of faint stars produce milky shimmer of the milky way—

There are local scenes of beauty in Bury St. Edmunds—the Abbey Gate School, where many have learned much. Its stone buildings stand among tall trees and upon spreading lawns. A man and a woman stroll on a path through the lawns. The dark uniformed students laden with book bags and notepads flow around them. The two wear dark plain clothing.

It’s a good thing this day is over, says the man.

Why? asks the woman, shaking back her long hair.

Because I know that if this day were longer, I’d have time to go back and pop that Builder right in the nose.

Why?

Because he’s a wise guy. He thinks he knows everything, him and his little book—but he doesn’t know anything—anything! Plus what he did to me—I told you what he did to me!

Oh, I know. That’s a shame, she says—and you two were always such friends. And you’re lucky you’re not hurt bad.

Friends my ass! Lucky my ass! I’ll pop him one! Right in the nose!

He rubs at his face and says no more as they continue on down the meandering path under the cool green leaves of the spreading trees. The neatly dressed students continue to flow smoothly and silently past, the mind of each on something different.

The Norman Tower stands in Bury St. Edmunds. Not far from the school, it overshadows everything about it with its air of history. Men died here. Swords were swung and battle-axes swung and rent torn men bled and died.

That Builder thinks he knows every Goddamned thing—well he doesn’t! I’ll pop him one!

They walk on.

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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.