Fiction


Tuesday, November 30th, 2010


Coming Up Next

by Dorothy Bendel


The man on television warned me about the dangers of summer. I stayed indoors and watched the ignorant ride their bicycles and imagined the sunny hilltop they aimed to reach. They didn't know that being so close to the sky made them targets, that it would open up and swallow them whole, leaving their muddy wheels to spin and squeal so loud that I could hear them through the Ambien. The ones that weren't eaten by the sky came screaming down the hill, burnt and covered in mosquitoes that bit them over and over until their heads swelled up and they let their children play in the front yard. Children like the ones we would have had if the figures worked out and meshed with our IRAs. I knew about the danger of dangers because I had my eyes and ears open while they were busy living like people did before the revolution.

I went up that hill once when I wanted to get with the program and live my best life. The mega-super-doppler 1000 didn't know that everyone would leave so early. The dandelions were sponsored by Proctor and Gamble but they were all recalled because of a defect. A health hazard or safety hazard, said an official from the FDA and a doctor who specialized in Coca-Cola. It was mixed up in a warning to commuters and parents and consumers of air. I saw the exclusive, not seen anywhere else and paid for by the Association of Associations.

Somehow I missed the special report and got old anyway. I should have listened to that expert on everything, the one they found on the street. He was nestled between the “Step-by-step Guide to Fighting a Holy War” and “How to Prevent Your Partner from Knowing Who You Are”. Now I watch strangers sleep so I can remember what it was like, soft and quiet with cameras all around.

They said that if I called right away we would receive a total eclipse. So I left the hill while the others kept looking up, no boxes or pinholes. I wanted to tell Oliver to come home but I couldn't download the software and the support team went on strike, holding out for more oil. He couldn't dissect the language and his ear piece disintegrated in the starlight before everything turned black. His eyes must have been like two giant plasma screens when they finally went out and he left me peeking out from behind the shades.


*****

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