I’m Not the Monster

by Jeff Glovsky

The chair tips and the child howls…Bangs its head on the edge of a table.

“HaHaHaHaHA!”, staccato, high-pitched burst of another one.  “That was funny!”

The first child’s in tears.  “Elena!  Sssh!  That wasn’t funny,” Elena’s mother reprimands.  The girl keeps laughing…pulling on her crotch, sucking her fingers, giant, gap-toothed vacant smile…

“HaHaHaHaHA!” it goes.

The mother, afraid of becoming embarrassed, stuffs a pastry in her mouth…pulls a hot swig of her coffee-free barista “drink” and snaps again, “SShhh!  Elena!”

The girl explodes.  Dancelaughing, lapping up the air, red tongue out, clapping happily.  The first child’s mom, embarrassed too, shouts to her child – still crying from banging its head on a table – “Get up!

“What is wrong with you?”

Diner

by Jeff Glovsky

Trying to sit and have breakfast in peace.  Construction slobs scream, laugh and howl … The little bell rings constantly.

I order a plain, light-toasted bagel.  It’s instantly slid across my booth – apparently a mistake for someone.  Or else it’s been prepared in advance of the loud and shrieking onslaught here.

A waitress coughs and blows her nose … stares wildly in my direction.  “Atkins diet to crullers!” a voice cuts through.

The waitress serves a sickly grin.

Need to Know

by Jeff Glovsky

I sit down beside her on the train, and overhear this conversation (She is drunk, it seems, and willing, and the poor guy who’s beaten me to her blows it!):

“What’ve you been drinking?” he mutters (afraid to reveal he’s making moves) …

“Does it look like I’ve been drinking?”  Smiles.  “Wine, liquor.  Then hard liquor … Not good!”

“What’re you celebrating?  Where’s your friends?”

She looks right … looks left.  Smiles, shrugs.  “My friends are gone,” she intimates.

There’s at least a fifteen second pause … into which I would’ve dove without holding my breath!

But not he (our simple hero).  Asks instead, after this pause, if she has lived out of the city long.

Inanity ensues.  He comes from Newark, she stays in Hoboken.  Her roommate is a cat … He shuffles, mutters, I can’t quite hear … Another train screams by, his lips keeps moving, like an Asian flick!

This pretty, drunken chick, she lolls her head now, tired of feigning interest.  Right, then left … done eyes grip mine.

She rolls them at me, shrugs and seems to indicate the simpleton.

We have to change trains then, she and I.  The guy stays on to get to Newark …

“A pleasure to meet you, Melissa,” he mutters … sliding a hand up her ass as we leave the train.  “Fuck off,” I smirk, victorious.

I traipse across the tipsy platform with her.

The doors of the train to Hoboken close behind us as we stumble on.  Now she can be all mine, think I …

We stand and stare and sway (there are no seats), we grip each others’ eyes … We hold fast to our gazes, and we bop in gentle rhythm to the rocking, loco motion …

But she doesn’t recognize me!

Lids her eyes shut, open … stares unsmiling at me, like contempt unknowing me!

Then spies a seat and dips beneath my gaze and arm, and pours into it.

I hang there standing … clinging to an aisle pole, pretending not to be hung up.  I turn around after a few and look toward her; she’s dozing now.

Approach her …

Tap her arm and mutter, “What’ve you been celebrating?”