pleasing the audience


Pleasing the Audience

There’s a lot of dirt. Under fingernails, in the upper chambers of the heart, along the highway and under the bridge where the wild roses grow. In the rib cage of thought. But everything will be fine, unless they force me to operate. Function, I should say, force me to function.

I’m under bright lights that block out the mob. Or audience, let’s call it an audience, think of it as a circus – paying customers with dirty minds. But well-dressed, I have to give them that, and swearing on a stack of Bibles that they mean no harm. They’re here to see me function. The place is packed.

They clap politely as I’m lowered down on hooks to a drum roll. A few of them hoot, unable to disguise their hostility. All of them harbor resentment, whether they can disguise it or not. Recognize it or not. They had to work their fingers to the bone to earn the price of a ticket. They had to function like sweat hogs. What gives me the right to duck and dodge? To wile away time?

Once my feet touch ground the hooks release, the drum roll stops, and I’m faced with an array of tools to choose from: a jackhammer and a dentist’s drill; a car lift and a compressor; three calculators, a wrench and a defibrillator. A paint brush, pie tins and a stethoscope.

The audience goes quiet as a sack full of church mice.

This is the moment they paid for.

They want me to fall to my knees. They want to watch me come apart at the seams.

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