Issue 35, Final Fringe

The Damned Eleven

by Jim Meirose Issue 24 11.29.2010

Jenkins crouches and again throws the dice against the shed. They bounce back nearly to his feet.

Ten, he says. Ten!

Well what did you expect, says The Other. There are three ways to roll a ten. It was about time for a ten to come up—

Jenkins turns shuffling in the dust.

Yes but what about the eleven—you know, seven, eleven— what about it?

It will come.

The ants crawl. The Other’s hand continued to idly rub at his crotch. The ant is finding its way through a forest of hairs, in the dark. It bathes itself in the moist sweaty warmth. The other ant, out in the light, is almost up on The Other’s collar. Its tiny pincers open and close.

Well, answer me! insisted Dale, standing menacingly over Builder, his fists clenched and eyes wide. Why are you ignoring me and everything I say?

Builder suddenly placed the book spread open black and grey covers up on the table and quickly got up, hauled off and sent Dale sprawling to the floor with a single right handed roundhouse to the face. Dale lay there on the grimy parquet floor propped up on one elbow and rubbed his face with his hand and brought the palm of his hand up before his eyes.

What the hell did you do that for? What the hell—am I bleeding? I think I’m bleeding—

Dale kept feeling his face and looking at his hand. Builder uncurled his fist and turned away and sat back down and picked up the book and turned the pages again.

—one star at a distance of three thousand light years— farther out it takes a far larger space to provide one more—

There are treasures and curios in the Bury St. Edmunds museum. Silver and tortoise-shell boxes and other things that all belonged to now-dead people fill the rooms.

A small hand opens a delicate brown and silver box. The contents sparkle and shimmer.

This is beautiful, she says to him. He smiles.

It’s the least I could do, he says. It’s what you deserve—

And the box is so beautiful too, she says. Holding the box up to the light, she tilts her small head to the side to see it better.

I so love you, she says.

And I you.

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

Jim Meirose

Read More

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.