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  • WJ King

THIS AIN'T BROADWAY CHUMPS

With another trunk filled, two stage hands carry it away. No tags on the soon to be archived bins as its destination if any is unknown. A pair of the stage hand’s colleagues sit at the front of the stage, legs dangling into the orchestra section, unwrapping their respective lunches. Sid and Jakeem have closed shows many times, though this one’s run was relatively short. Sid admires his sandwich and smiles. Without looking over Jakeem asks, “what’cha got today Sid?” Sid, still smiling, says almost proudly, “meatloaf.” Now Jakeem turns his head to his lunch companion, “you awful damn proud of the meatloaf aint’cha?” and breaks into a smile. “Cut diagonally my good man, just the way I like it. Thirty-four years of perfectly diagonal bliss.” With a half mouthful of turkey, Jakeem responded, “yeah Sid, it’s the little things, it sure is.”


Behind the stage a grip has captured an unoccupied office for her repast. The television is on and she doesn’t change the channel in fear of an ass chewin’. “ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING,” the grip crosses herself and mutters, “damn,” remembering she’d forgotten to say grace. Mass shootings are becoming commonplace. Killed for being Black, killed for being Gay, kids can’t go to school without thinking about being shot and killed. It might take you back to the old story, not doing anything because they didn’t come for you and when they did there was no one to help.


Listening to the news, one might wonder if the citizenry will be tasked with governing itself, what with one political party seemingly operating our southern borders, ala swinging door saloon. The other side offers no solutions to the plethora of dilemmas on their plate and only threatens revenge and adamant opposition, waving their collective fist angrily.


Priorities are skewed to put it lightly. Why Big Pharma, the NRA and other PACS aren’t just given offices at the Capitol Bldg. is a valid question. Diplomacy and progress is being replaced with hate, slander and winning. Winning in this case is to demean and crush your opponent into the ground. A percentage of the people buy into the latter whole heartedly because it puts bigotry and bias back in fashion. Most have thoughts of what the ‘good old days’ are. One might remember childhoods, first loves etc. Another, might long for listening to great grandpa's account of lyching a boy of color for whistling at a White woman. Anti-semitism breathes the fresh air of a homecoming, Asians are summarily assaulted on the streets and white supremacists are seemingly getting a place at the table. The world as we knew it no longer moves forward but backwards. Globally, you’ve gotta guy who’s reportedly dying, wants to go out with a bang. He announces a neighboring country belongs to him and starts bombing them. In another country, a short little fat dictator arbitrarily ‘tests’ missiles. After these demonstrations of machismo, he struts around like he was 5’6”.


Sid and Jakeem, ball up their cellophane sandwich wrappers and shoot them at a yawning receptacle. They congratulate each other on their ‘three pointers.’ “How many of these ‘shows’ have you closed Sid?” Sid is standing on the stage tucking his shirt in after cracking his back. “Too many to remember Jakeem, too many.” Jakeem shakes his head, “how long you been doing this man?” “millions of years.” responds Sid, “how ‘bout you?” “Only ‘bout 1200 A.D., I think.” Looking straight ahead Sid says, “The powers are getting less patient I think, “this group was only given a couple hundred thousand years before they washed out.” “What ‘bout us Sid?” Sid smiles at Jakeem, “it’s an endless universe and time is infinite. We could be part of building another civilization of some sort. But wherever we land, we’ll be alright, we’ll be alright kid. We should probably try ducks or somethin’ else next time. People don’t learn from their past. But what do I know?”



wjk/12/5/22/672


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