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The Real Me

Rich Boucher

I was standing there, in my kitchen, just in some black boxer briefs and a sock and trying to remember how coffee is made because I just got up and because I woke up with a huge headache but my mind was on finding some Proud Boys somewhere in the United States and killing them. I woke up from whatever I was dreaming about thinking of murdering American terrorists, the stinking, chubby bodies of Meal Team Six at my feet in their stupid black-and-yellow play clothes. I didn’t have a gun, never owned a gun and could only guess at how one gets a gun. It was quarter to six in the morning, a quarter to the first slivers of sunlight over the top of the mountain and it was a quarter to epiphany in the morning when the phone rang. It was me, calling me. Even without the first cup of coffee in the morning I knew this was ridiculous and stupid and impossible. Who is this, really? My voice sounded a little scared. It sounded like I was a person who was afraid of something even though it wasn’t dark out anymore. The Keurig pot burbled and farted liquidly in the background as if trying to remind me that real life was also a thing I should take an interest in. There was no way it was actually me calling myself, because I was right there and I’d have known if I made a phone call or not. I know I’d have known. The voice on the other end of the line got louder suddenly, sounding irritated more than anything else. I am YOU, you idiot, and what makes you think you could get away with killing someone? In fact, what makes you think you could kill a person in the first place? You know you don’t even have that in you - you’re way too much of a coward. I really don’t care for being spoken to like that by anyone, so I hung up on myself. The rest of it you already know.

Life Is Not Easy

Rich Boucher

Such a pretty bus ride at first. We rode together, all of us paying patrons, through a wealthy and extravagant and rich old person’s sprawling green estate, with our fancy silver tour bus trundling slowly up and down every hill and meekly, cautiously around each curve that was winding, and also wealthily in the pricey, pleasant sunshine, and also peacefully along for an hour surrounded by gorgeous, many-splendored, multihued foliage and geraniums and violets and petunia begonias and inheritance marble statues and flowerbeds and tall, gesticulating ferns and pretty sunlight that poured hot gold over us like we were all beautiful. Some kind of flutist or harp player sweetly harped (or flute-played) the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn in the background of our tour; we could hear that genteel and sugary classical song out the windows of the bus and that’s when right then a huge chunk of all pungent hell broke loose: the old man in the back of the bus, the one who had been wearing that stupid fedora and bowtie, he’d had some kind of medical attack and fell over, he had some kind of bio attack and keeled over off of his seat, this old man had some kind of elderly man attack and tumbled off his bus seat and crumpled over, strangling and making bicycle motions with his legs and trying to get a scream out and that’s when he shat himself. The world ended forever for a little while when we all realized what he’d done. Now, I paid sixty dollars for this tour and since this guy ruined my afternoon and the afternoon of the others and the afternoon of history and the afternoon of love and the afternoon of good taste and manners and since the tour company said they wouldn’t give refunds and since all sales were final I had to get revenge and satisfaction and so I did it. I’m the one who did it; it was me. I leveled my lovely Uzi towards the old man’s head and emptied my clip into him because once a person shits themselves on a bus where other people have no way to escape from it, that person must be euthanized. The other people on the bus acted all shocked and all afraid like they’d never seen a mercy killing before, even though every single one of them has at least one time in their life witnessed the slow, unmerciful murder of life in the eyes of the cashier who is being exsanguinated by retail life itself. I am reminded (and you are also) of a time when I was sitting on one of those benches at the mall many years ago. A Europeanly attractive mother (think Ava Gardner; think Tina Louise; think Hedy Lamarr) in a majestically tight pink sweater was sitting across from me on a nearby bench, and she had this little baby with her. While the mother was looking at her phone and while I was looking at the mother, this little creature of hers looked straight at me and told me with a snarl that life was not easy. I didn’t know that until the baby told me. Life is not easy. Sometimes you have to euthanize someone who makes the bus smell worse than it normally does.

Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich's poems have appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, Eighteen Seventy, Menacing Hedge, Drunk Monkeys, Pink Disco, and Cultural Weekly, among others. Rich serves as Associate Editor for the online literary magazine BOMBFIRE. He is the author of All Of This Candy Belongs To Me, a collection of poems published by Jules' Poetry Playhouse Publications. Peep for morel. He loves his life with his love Leann and their sweet cat Callie.
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