“Leaving the Roost”

          His name was Mike and he wasn’t a baker. He forced-fed hamsters with Parkinson’s hands—a tiny napkin to mop up every last drop. He spilled integrity on his sheets and washed them anyway. Though his glasses reflected shimmers of silver everywhere he looked, he cleaned his applewood mantle with bleach. His belt was useless, ran out of notches after he pulled it through buckle eternity. But he wore it still, slung loosely around a crown of protruding hipbones and he pulled up his pants to scrub the dishes. A quasi five o’clock shadow peppered his face and broke his razor whenever he tried to cut his facial hedges.

Fetter of dust and dirt, it made his pain sting his days with unanimous discord. Brown patches tinted the carpet. Particles of human skin floated through sunbeams until they parked on a mirror, forgetting their soon awaited Oxi-Clean hearse. Where the muck came from, he had only one guess: all of the demons throwing parties on his roof, jumping rope and building sand castles of mirth. They laughed loudly and cried louder after watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns.  Playing hopscotch in his attic, they leapt from rafter to termite festered rafter. They wrestled in mud with jowled-dogs and pulled up grass in search of clovers, those pesky demons tracking dirt into his house.

So Mikey hired a priest to exorcise the place. And rolling over came Father Matt in purchased new robes so that no threads would stray into the house. He chanted Latin and sprinkled holy water on the floor as Mikey, on his knees behind the swaying padre, wiped up his blessings with a clean rag. Father Matt contemplated scolding Mikey for mopping up the water, but he had already done his job, throwing doctrine was enough and tending was unnecessary.  So the demons left and another replaced them, born when he made the first batch leave.

By Anton Jones

This Post Has One Comment

  1. carolkean

    Love your solution to dust, dirt, grime, and muck: call in a priest to exorcise the demons that visit this detritus upon us. 🙂 Also laughed out loud at your story in the “The Pearl” 2016 anthology. I’ve never dared to tell tales of the out-house, or the perils of indoor plumbing in rural areas (childhood on a farm –last century–yes, I am that old). You write well, Anton, and I rarely say that to anyone under age 50, a generation plagued by sketchy new teaching methods and native English speakers whose syntax makes them sound foreign born. But I digress. You write well!

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