Tag Archive: gager


INSTA Corp. held quarterly meetings where Alice and her cubicle neighbor, Felix sat in the back. “I’m Hubbard from Dayton, Ohio, and I’m here to talk about our at home white blood cell testing kits, one of the newest in our series of immediate result home testing.” Felix whispered, “What does he call his mom? Mother Hubbard?”

Alice tried to duck but she couldn’t avoid any of their eyes turning back, watching her unsuppressed laughter. “Bauman’s going to fire us,” she said after recovery but Felix shushed her. “This place sucks,” he said as Hubbard concluded his pitch with, “So, I’m stretching out my hand to you…”

“Who is he? Gumby?” Felix smirked causing Alice to run out of the auditorium and completely lose it.

“I used to party with him,” Alice whispered.

At the break, Felix said, “Cookies are crack,” eating one.  Alice had a mouthful of a warm oatmeal one. She washed it down with coffee, remembered when she used to use a cocaine grinder on ten cinnamon sticks when she needed to bake pie. “I remember those sprees,” she said.  “What a waste that was.”

“What’s in those cookies?” Bauman asked their backs.

Alice looked at Felix, before looking over her shoulder at Bauman. They volleyed that way for awhile. Bauman said, “Well, the way you were laughing, I thought you were high.”

“They tested me last week,” Alice said and shrugged her shoulders.

“I’m thinking you need a retest,” Bauman said. “Felix, too.”

“For laughing?” Alice said. “You’d think the company would want something as healthy as laughter.”

“Home white cell test kits are not, and never will be funny. I don’t know if cancer is a disease that runs in your family but…”

“Ok, ok, ok…fine,” Alice said.

“Fine,” Felix said.

Bauman reached into the closet closest to the break area and pulled out two boxes of INSTA AT-HOME DRUG TEST. Alice and Felix walked side by side like little soldiers and disappeared into their perspective bathrooms before giving their samples to Bauman. The meeting was still on break.

When Bauman reemerged from his office he had the results. “The computer indicates traces of amphetamines which I hope might be from the coffee,” Bauman told them. “Still, that being the case, I’m sorry but we must insist on either rehab or termination.”

“Rehab? For coffee?” Alice said.

“Really. Fuck it, termination,” Felix added.

“I’ve changed my mind. Termination for me too,” Alice said.

She pushed seven cookies into her Versace knock-off until they were all you could see if happened to glance in.

“Do you want to get high?” she said to Felix, palming the cookies in her pocketbook.

“Cookies,” he said. “Are crack.”

“Is that your twin brother?” the police officer asked Mark as Gregg was being strapped into a gurney, broken pencil sticking out of his left eyeball. Mark couldn’t hear the question because his girlfriend was screaming.

“Never heard even a siren that loud before,” Mark said to the cop who twisted his head firmly and shoved him into the cruiser. Mark wanted to laugh but he was congested and coughed instead. He thought about how bad and phlegm-like the custard tasted in jail, when it slid down the back of his throat.

Growing up, his Dad made him sit there until he finished. He forced the tapioca down, swallow by swallow, eyes closed and nose pinched, until the very last spoonful was gone. Then there was the time Gregg quickly switched bowls while his eyes were closed, his full for Mark’s empty. Dad’s belt raised quarter inch welts on his ass that time.

Mark couldn’t possibly remember all the incidents but there were many similar to this–Gregg did things and Mark took the hit.

He never considered Gregg hitting on his girlfriend until he stopped by today and overheard the grunts and squeaks. “She said she loved him,” he told the cop.

“Love is fucking blind,” the cop sneered.

If I wanted that I would have stayed married. There have been other things since the spring, such as the summer, the fall and the winter. Anxiety. I lose track of time and dates, not because I’m feeble-minded but because one day seems to run into another. Life is all about events which get filed like index cards in a small metal box. Even when I’m profound, I date myself.

But as I said, I don’t date. I have events. Last spring I had an event. It was a panic attack. Demetri Martin says in his comedy act, “When someone asks you the question, are you ticklish, it doesn’t matter if you say yes or no. They’re going to touch you.” When the wiry red-head touched me last spring in the middle of the night, she didn’t know what to do when I screamed. When you don’t know why you do things, it makes you panic.

So I pray. God will keep me calm. It’s a lot to ask. Mostly, these days, people only ask me to “like” and “share” things. It’s a simple world, when you don’t leave the house. It is God’s way of answering my pleas for serenity, he tells me, “Don’t leave the house.”

This is how I lost my job. It wasn’t much. I parked cars at the wharf. I tried not to think of someone loving those cars, giving their cars names and such. My panics got so bad, it was all I could do to not to freak out and drive the cars into the water. It’s never been as bad as this.

It’s why I don’t drive anymore. That and the time I forgot my dog Chi-Chi on the roof. No, this was no Romney move as the dog was not strapped on. I needed to remember to get an inspection sticker so I went into the glove box, to check if I had my paperwork. I mean, I was distracted. Then I started the car.

Now I walk when I can, but when can I? It’s crazy when I stay inside. I use positive imaging. The sun shines brightly on the blazing sidewalk and the green buds have started on the trees. My neighbors start lifting their hands a full block away to say hello. Someone rides a bike with a bell that rings. Ting-ting. Smiles all around. Smiles. There’s a coffee shop on the way, where the workers, know my name but also my drink called “The Usual”. If everything was this simple it would all be fine.

But it’s not fine. I’m sweating through my shirts. I am still inside my house. I have visions of the girl from last spring inside my head. She’s downtown walking toward me. Her red hair glows in the sun light and her round sunglasses are as dark as a welder’s. She says, “Beep-beep. Beep-beep. Yeah.”

I say, “Baby, I no longer drive” but it doesn’t matter what I say to her at this point. More cars drive by and I can hear the music from their radios. “It’s a Beatles song,” I say to myself. I hope more cars drive by. I wait. Here one comes now.

Chiller by Timothy Gager

Dayle runs into the house, flattens a coffee table, and knocks over a lamp; Clyde’s face is red in hot pursuit. Sid and I watch the horror movie   Treat ‘r Treat stoned. He says, “Who the fuck was that?”

“The girl?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s Anna Paquin.”

“No! Who ran in here?”

“Oh, that’s Clyde’s Dayle.”

“Clydesdale? A horse?”

There is a scream in back room. “Wait,” Sid says. “Anna Paquin is going to gether tits cut off.”

“Oh man! I’ve seen this before,” I say.

Dayle comes back out with blood on her shirt and pants. “You didn’t see shit,”she says.

Ethan was five when he made his toy cars smash into one another. He screamed in joy when they hit. He then would get up and click his playlist of mp3 songs on the computer he’d been downloading since he’d been four. When he started his mother was amazed. “Funny how he never got into kids songs and how he’s all into music.” None of this surprised his father.

When he was eight he was running around the house while the music played. He jumped on the couch, flailing hands on air guitar. From the couch he leapt straight onto his play table, where he liked to paint. The table collapsed but Ethan kept playing. “I’m Pete Townsend,” he cried, smashing the air guitar to pieces. “I’m Who, I’m Who, and I’m whooooooo?”

“I don’t know who you are,” said the father as he wrapped him up in his arms until Ethan began to settle.

“I’m The Who,” he said and laughed. “In Cincinnati.”

His father had no idea how Ethan picked up that reference. The Who in Cincinnati? Wasn’t that thirty years ago when they played there and the people got trampled? Ethan was a sponge.

Today,  when the school calls, his father is not surprised. Nothing in the world surprises him anymore. There are some pictures that Ethan has drawn. Would you like to have a look, Mr. McGrath? The father doesn’t think he can.

The hill he is climbing has just gotten taller. He feels it’s now a mountain and he needs oxygen but the tank is empty then thinks, “There is nothing wrong. Nothing is wrong.”

She was pretty so I wondered if she could ever go with me, a blond haired blue eyed boy with two ruptured testicles, nearly pureed from a bike jump gone horribly wrong. We were both too old to be here, two teenagers in with the sick and small at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for Children.

I was one table away from her but close enough to hear her fork hit the plate as she stabbed at her Mac and Cheese.

“What are you in for?” I asked.

“Life and a late lunch,” she said. “But there’s not much to that.”

“That’s simple. I like that.”

She swallowed hard, her mouth a hard straight line. “Actually, they need to remove my uterus. If my heart doesn’t go into arrest, then after the surgery, I’ll have doses of radiation.”

“My sister had a baby and her husband said that the uterus looks like one of those McDonald’s cardboard cup holders, you know the gray ones. You’re not missing anything”

“That won’t ever be me,” she said, stirring her coffee, stirring and stirring.

“You should get to know me better. There’s a rush.”

“You have a lot of balls to come down here and say that.”

“I’m trying to keep it light,” I say.

“Why not. I have a lot of stuff.” she said.

We talked until the last horizontal light of the sun shone through the windows. I was sore from wheeling my chair next to hers at the table, thirty minutes ago; hadn’t had a painkiller in a while. “You should visit me later and watch stupid TV in my room,” I tell her.

“At home we don’t own a television. We don’t own things, but yeah, I could stop by,” she said.

“You could meet my family,” I acknowledged.

“Mine too,’ she said. The cafeteria windows were pitch black by now and everything felt chilly.

“Don’t be nervous,” I said when I reached out and held her face in my hands.

“Why not,” she said just before the first kiss.

Closure by Timothy Gager

Linda’s doctor said her small vagina would seal up and close if she didn’t stick something in it fast. It made her angry because she promised God back in High School that nothing would get in there before marriage. She was also pissed because the doctor was unusually interested in his diagnosis. When she needed an anti-biotic he didn’t seem to give a shit.

“Use it or lose it,” he said. “so what’s it gonna be?”

“I’ll figure it out,” she said. “OK, I’m not going to die from this, right?”

Linda went on-line and found a guy on the Whale-of-a-Dating site. He was perfect, average in every way but he didn’t fit; she was too small. It was a round peg square hole predicament. Afterward she tried to stick a pencil in there to stretch things out but the damn thing snapped off.

Next she tried an Asian man because everyone knew that story but he was really big. He said, “It’s actually just a myth! Some of us have small penises, but some of your kind do too!”

She next thought of the Irish, but she didn’t want to be with a drinker. Drinkers are bad news, she thought and if one couldn’t fit into me he might beat me. She was getting smaller by the hour. She looked at her dog. She said, “What the fuck.” She said it out loud.

Amanda was the perfect girl to like because she had a great job. She worked at Tape World. Compact Discs had just hit. No one went to Tape World. I always went.
 
“Do you have Born To Run on cassette?” She looked at me like I were retarded and had asked her if I could eat her pizza only instead of asking if I could eat her pizza, I only drooled.
 
“Of course we have Born To Run on…cassette. If you were interesting you’d ask if we had Depeche Mode on cassette because I order all the cool stuff.”
 
“Got that already….on disc.”
 
She had the look. I’ve seen it. It is the way a girl looks when she is about to smack you in the head or throw something at the wall. “Why do I care,” she said. “It’s only a matter of time before Tape World will no longer exist. Then what’ll I do?”
 
“I’m sure they’d hire you at Disc Dat. You stock the best shit. Always. If it weren’t for you, I’d be completely done with tapes.”
 
“You like me?” she asked.
 
“Yep.”
 
“Depeche Mode on disc…what else did you see?” she said, hitting the ‘no sale’ key on the register, springing the draw.
 
“Gun Club, Clash, Stan Ridgeway.”
 
She yanked the twenties, the tens, the fives and the ones out in four quick snaps. “I want to buy you lunch.”
 
Then we waited for the end of the world.