Doesn’t Fix a Light Bulb
Waterloo immediately forgot
the repairman’s name and didn’t ask him to repeat it. After four hours,
the time had passed. He watched the dirt stained fingers grappling with
the half dozen cords in the overhead light fixture and felt guilty.
After all, here Waterloo was, just standing around in his nice, cool
apartment, doing nothing of worth for anybody, while this nameless
repairman endeavored to bring light to his tiny world. It was enough to
make a man want to do something about the state of things.
‘I’ll do something about the
state of things,’ Waterloo said to himself. 3 hours before and an hour
after Waterloo had forgotten his name, the repairman asked if there was
any water he might have. In response, Waterloo had shrugged. He was
beginning to think it had been the wrong move. Now, 4 hours later,
Waterloo almost went to the kitchen, opened a cupboard and retrieved a
clear glass with stripes at the top and filled it from the sink with
water. Almost. Watching the repairman in his work, Waterloo
decided a little chat, a little bonding, a little encouragement and
reassurance was what the repairman really wanted. Some sign of
connectedness between the two men, some show of understanding. That’s
what he had meant by water. Let us drink from the same stream and so
Waterloo took a step towards
the living room. Then another and another. Soon he was standing under
the overhead light fixture looking up at the repairman on his ladder, a
jumble of wires hanging. Waterloo took a deep breath. He was going to
relate to this man of the people. “It’s like the twist-tie thingy on
bread,” Waterloo began without introduction. “Where you twist and twist
and twist until you realize, the whole time, you’ve been twisting the
twist-tie thingy the wrong way. The exact opposite way of the right
way. The way that will never release your bread. So you twist and twist
and twist the other way until you get the twist-tie thingy back to the
start, and still no bread. You’ve been here before. And those last few
twists, the twists that would have ended a long time ago if you’d only
chosen the correct way to twist, well, it’s agony. And all the while,
all the while, you’re not having any bread. You’re just twisting.
Twisting until it feels like you’ve spent your whole life twisting.
Your whole life, twisting and breadless.” Waterloo smiled at the
repairman reassuringly, encouragingly, understandingly. “I would
suppose mending a light bulb is a lot like twisting a twist-tie thingy
on bread. Except instead of no bread – No light.”
The repairman didn’t say
anything. Waterloo felt like pushing him off
Man with Too Many Hats
Draco (circa 650 BC - approx.
600 BC) died from asphyxiation.
Draco was the first legislator of ancient Greece. He came up with the
job himself. What we need is some laws around here, he said. Enough
with the blood feuds. Enough just talkin’ ‘don’t do this, don’t do
that’. Lets set up some real honest to Zeus laws. Write ‘em down, too.
So now they’ve got gobs. And some people don’t like it. Say they’re too
harsh. Too much too soon. Ain’t fair for some court to go tellin’
people how it is. That man Draco thinks he's everything to everybody. A
man wearing' too many hats, that guy. Shut up, Draco says. Shut up and
sit down or I’ll make you sit. I’ll make you sit down. Most listen. And
if not, BOOM. Punished. Just got Draco’ed, sucker. You’re livin’ in a
Draconian state and you will like it.
So after awhile, everything
goin’ good, some people say, Hey, why don’t we celebrate Draco? On
account of all these laws, things are alright. Can’t steal an apple
round here anymore, that’s how alright. Yeah, said the apple vendors.
So they set up this whole big
deal right there in the Aeginetan theater. Everybody’s there. Apple
vendors. So Draco walks out, steps right out in the middle of that big
ole theater, raises up his hands and says ‘Draco at your service'.
Well, the place goes wild. You’ve never seen so many people so happy at
the same time. Cheerin’, hootin’, hollerin’. Throwin’ kids up in the
air. Kissin’ people smack on the mouth because why not. And somebody,
nobody really knows who but it might have been Ed the apple vendor,
well, somebody throws a hat. Throws it right up and out there. Lands at
Draco’s feet. It starts a movement, that one hat. Soon everybody's
thrown' everything. Hats, robes, shoes, coats. If you can wear it, it's
Now, if there's gonna' be a
problem, it's nudity, right? With everybody just thrown' all their
clothes, there's bound to be a problem with nakedness. But that's not
it. What happens – Draco is just one man. Just one guy. And he's
standin' in the middle of that big theater, all alone, and there are
just so many clothes. So many. Enough.
But Draco is a celebratory
kind of guy, especially if the celebration is himself. So he keeps
wavin' his hands. More hats. More robes. More shoes. More coats. And
they pile up. He's putting' three, four, ten hats on his head. A dozen
robes over each arm, shoes stacked like pillars, coats up to his
eyeballs. And once he has hats to the moon, Draco gets nervous. Enough
with the hats, he wants to say. There’s already enough too many! But
the enough too many hats won’t let him say a word let alone a whole
command. Hats, hats, hats and more hats. And it's then, with those
robes weighing' him down, those shoes makin' a pantheon around him,
those coats anywhere and everywhere and those hats – those hats! –
piling up, Draco thinks, well I’ll be damned. I’m gonna get killed by
too many hats. And, after all, it was true.
Kate LaDew lives in
Graham, NC. A graduate from the University of North Carolina at
Greensboro with a BA in Studio Arts, she has received the North
Carolina Governor’s Award of Excellence in Writing and Arts, the North
Carolina English Teacher’s Association National Writing Award, and has
been published in Writer’s
American Drivel Review, The Oak, Spiral-Bridge, SNReview, Penduline, Foliate Oak, Split Rock Review, Shot Glass Journal,
front page image is copyright ©
by Tony Kitterick, 2012