Hardnosed, high velocity; the Emergency Room surgeon explained while expounding on the biblical nature of my good luck. Both the surgeon’s pretty nurses aids had poked their heads into the treatment room and were making pidgin sounds as he probed the exit wound. The cops had questioned the people I’d told them about; the one’s with grudges, but they came up clean and since no one had taken a shot at me since, the cops speculated that I was a recipient of randomness and I could live with that.
I still show off the scar. If Anne’s around it pisses her off, so I watch it. When I have the opportunity, I leave the top two buttons of my shirt undone and tell whoever asks that it didn’t hurt much—I get asked that—as it was a high velocity, armor-piercing round and, live or die, I tell them, either way you don’t feel. There was a long zip sound, like the sound a zipper makes, but faster and longer. I didn’t remember the sound, or I did, but didn’t put the sound and the hole in his shirt together until later when I was watching a shoot-em-up flick. Anne hates filmic depictions of gratuitous sex and violence—I can see her point—and was curled up at the far end of the couch reading, so I had the big Bose external sound-killing headphones on—no sounds escape into the room from them—the volume topped-off high and there was no mistaking it; same sound. Different result, though. Guy in the movie gets hit—that same long zip—and immediately he becomes a pink cloud. After that the guy isn’t in the movie; not even a close-up of what’s left of him, not a flashback either because, I suppose, who wants to watch a flashback of some pink cloud guy you can’t remember. I don’t. The long zip, the pink cloud, I remember them, which got me to thinking about feeling, the kind that hurt. When the Taliban blew up those stone Buddhas I felt. Anne teared up and so did I. And maybe—and I think this would also get to me—while the Taliban are sledgehammering the Buddha into dust some Egyptian kid, say the son of a sand-digger, he finds more of those lost Hebrew scrolls. Of course for a month the sand-digger’s family will use the scrolls for TP (that’s the part that gets to me) before one of them gets the idea that the scrolls might make them a few shekels and wiping themselves with their hands wasn’t really that bad—I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a “Raiders of The Lost...” one of them, with a scene like that. You know the rest; deep pockets hire Frank Lloyd Wright to build another museum. Then it comes to me that while the museum is being built the Hutus, or maybe it’s the Tutsis, one or the other, maybe both, they make pink clouds out of each other. It’s then my finger strays to the hole. I don’t wear the shirt anymore but keep it close in case anyone stops by and is interested in seeing it; in this instant it’s in my lap. It was soaked brown before Anne washed it, one of the stains looking like Texas. That’s another thing I tell people and they just stand there shaking their heads and making tut-tut sounds, and in my mind with people standing around the couch shaking their heads and making those sounds, I go back to thinking about the fucking Taliban and those million year old Buddhas. Boom, gray cloud, gone then I glance over at Anne, her face contorted into a grimace and there are tears. Throwing off the headphones it takes a full second to realize she is laughing.
Michael K. Meyers fiction appears in Quick Fiction, Work Riot, Eclectica, NANO, Bound Off, 2River, The 2nd Hand Journal, Chicago Noir, Chelsea, Fiction, The New Yorker, SmokeLong, Required Journal, Alice Blue and (forthcoming) another in NANO. His audio works can he heard at Fringe, 2River, Mad Hatters Review & in Drunken Boat. His videos can be viewed on Ninth Letter as well as on his website. He has presented performance & theater works at MoMA, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Israel Museum, Tel Aviv Museum, Warsaw Institute of Contemporary Art, The Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival, and others. An audio piece; “The Audio Encyclopedia of Personal Knowledge,” was broadcast on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and on BBC Radio 4. He teaches in the graduate writing program at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.