Two Stories by Michael K. Meyers


Staying Up

     My masseuse says, “I’ve got you, I’ve got you good, so don’t change the channel.” I tell her I will not, will never do that. While being kneaded and kneaded my imagination takes me to destinations inappropriate for relaxation: a falcon lands on my face, its talons digging in; my brother kicks open my bedroom door and pisses on my homework, stuff like that. I can’t wait a whole week to tell my shrink what I was thinking while I was getting a massage; she’ll orgasm. I call her from my masseuse’s lobby. Once she collects herself, my shrink says, “This is great news.” And then, “You are making real progress and we are on the faster track to your mental wellbeing.” She suggests that from now on we meet twice weekly, telling me then that she’s had a cancellation and I should come right over. I tell her that what she just said, the stuff about my mental wellbeing is great news, truly, but I can’t come over, not right now, maybe tomorrow because right now I am way, way too happy to come down, then I do exactly that, I crash. She says, a little hysterical, “Hail a cab!”
     My shrink’s receptionist is on the sidewalk pacing. He takes my arm at the elbow and escorts me into the building. Waiting for the elevator I perk up, say, “Release me!” He refuses, twists my arm behind my back and bends my wrist. In the express elevator, with blood swelling my ankles and feeling a tad light-headed, I say to the receptionist, “Dwayne, go fuck yourself.” Fellow passengers occupy the corners, or try. Dwayne, or whatever his name is, presses my wrist harder, twists my shoulder up a micro-millimeter and I experience a version of pleasure appreciated by few and tear-up. I am totally topped off with pleasure, so much am I topped off that I weep. My shrink’s receptionist, a professional and knowing more about my body then I do, pushes and presses and on my tippy-tippy toes, and perhaps to the delight of my fellow passengers I do a little dance. “Dwayne,” I squeal, “this is the first time in I don’t know, that I have felt true buoyancy, don’t stop, please don’t stop; don’t let go.”

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Fatso In The Late Afternoon

     Mom had gone into the street and hired juveniles, urchins really. In boom times she might come back with three, four or five of them. Until scalded clean it was difficult to determine age or sex. An excellent instructor, given a few hours she could turn those versed in the rudiments of juggling into near-professionals, and if youngsters were physically gifted, though lacking specific knowledge, she could instruct them to perform the basics in a similar amount of time.
     While seeking flavor from the innards of a jelly filled doughnut I hear her in the kitchen working with them, instructing, cajoling and offering encouragement. Her voice, though muted by the closed kitchen door, is upbeat, which, I think, must take a lot out of her.
     If I am able, I help her roll the Porta-Stage into the living room and then, energy spent, flop back on the couch, shake open the paper and graze the classifieds. Mom, maintaining supernatural cheeriness, props my feet on a pillow so blood won’t pool, adjusts the spot-lights and tells the juveniles in the kitchen to get ready. As soon as she sets the stereo going, I set down the paper. The door flies open and they come bounding out. It’s a sight—all of them decked out in the harlequin costumes she’s sewed for them—yellow and green diamond shapes her signature design. And for the entire time they’re tossing and catching colored balls I can imagine how life—the concept of it, the big picture—to some people at least must appear urgent and pretty darn sweet.

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Michael K. Meyers’s work has appeared in Quick Fiction, SmokeLong, Word Riot, Alice Blue, Eclectica, NANO, Spork, Bound Off, 2River, The 2nd Hand Journal, Chicago Noir, Chelsea, Fiction, The New Yorker, and Requited Journal. Audio works can be heard in Fringe, 2River, Mad Hatter’s Review, Drunken Boat, and forthcoming in sound/text and Bound Off. Videos can be viewed on Ninth Letter, apt and at michaelkmeyers.com. He teaches in the graduate writing program at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.