issue three

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This work is copyrighted by the author, Jonathan Simms. All rights reserved.

(433 words)

       arl sat hovering over a  small bowl of
       soup, his eyes glazing over as driblets of hot sauce and oyster crackers swirled, sunk, and soaked up the soup. The war was over, he thought. I've fought too long and too hard and for what? For soup, for hot sauce, for crackers - ah Jesus, this wasn't how it was supposed to turn out - it was supposed to have been beautiful and artistic, lots of happiness and peace. The whole works was supposed to have come down to the ground. It was over, he thought, it's really over and I've fought too long. The waitress was nervous and she stood close by a workingman on his lunch break. She thumbed through her order booklet and bit her pen. The man sitting at the counter had his lunch served. It was obvious that Carl felt ill: his face was no longer the face of a hungry man. The waitress stood staring at Carl; he felt her eyes. With a glance he realized how obvious he was being. He picked up the spoon slowly and slurped a spoonful - oh it's really wonderful, he told her. He had no complaints about the soup, he said, but was tired that was all; he just needed to lie down, he assured her. He set his money down, apologized, and left.

In the street the bustle of people was hypnotic. No one knew what had been planned for them and that it had been planned in their honor - for their salvation. Carl raised his hand to wipe all of them away but the power was gone; all that remained was the phone call he was to receive when he got home. It would only last a minute - maybe more, maybe less. They were vague on the details but strong on the result. He couldn't think straight; he wondered if the waitress had drugged his soup; he saw the people and he saw their cars and smirked - it had all been in vain. Leaving the pier there was an ocean behind him and a road that had been built over the water. He reached his apartment, walked in, and lay down on his bed. He had just dozed off when he was startled by the phone - there was the sound of a distant explosion, followed by another. He wondered about the waitressÂ…

       maybe he should have warned her.

Listen closely for the bells
'cause when you hear them
it's the signal that it's over
and the game is up
and if you're still moving,
you're out...
Jonathan Simms
photo by Maria Pavlova