Bewildering Stories

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Made It Way Up

part 16: Essa

by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

Part 15 appeared in issue 95.


I’d do a lot of things to keep the world from emulating television. I’d take a shot, for or at anyone you’d care to name. I’d write the most persuasive letter in the language. I’d certainly stay up all night pretending to listen to a crazy melting man. Bernard just wouldn’t leave. He was this close to handing me a whip and asking me for thirty-nine lashes. I kept telling him it wasn’t his fault. I kept to myself that worse things have happened.

He wouldn’t shut up. He apologized, and kept on apologizing until he had run out of clichés. Then I made him a cup of tea and tried to make him believe that, even though I don’t give a damn about him, I like when things are calm between us. Not in so many words.

The tea didn’t stay down long. I took him into my bedroom and put him to sleep before cleaning up his mess. Can’t cry in a full face of ammonia solution. Can’t help but gag.

When I was done, the house was quiet. For the first time, quiet. And all the time in the world to think.

I slept on the couch.

Proceed to part 17.

Copyright © 2004 by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

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