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Jim Meirose: In This Life

Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/Nv6ybBSq4gM) 09.07.2023.


The Big Swim Race



Live in the season house and go at the end of it. The Gordons are paying the rent; crane to see it end but comprehend none of it. Grains blow out and in but the house won’t give. Gregory Lopper is about to do a big swim race. He lives in the season house. His crazes come and go. Hurry hurry get the trip wires up for the girl snow trip the snow and hurt the flag at justifiable homicide what is that yellow corn flowing down the chute ale and chef Vigor plates the menu in the heart of the storm. Gregory goes in the grey mansion known as the season house. He sits in the west wing of the season house; he is afraid; very afraid, because he’s a big swim race ahead of him. So he craves the night; watches the movie; goes to bed; dreams of driving. Drive in the west, way to the east, and drive up north, he thinks; got to keep driving in this dream; the pig’s in the crapper; the pig’s in the crapper and the boil is busted and bloody where you can’t reach it in back do you think you could put a bandage on for me? Where the pussycat goes in the day; he; us; you; them; when the tube shoves up the grace in the gorgon’s chamber. Drive north, way up north and the great one will greet you in hurtfulness and in pants of oil on the ranger’s tunic. Listen! A toot! Hunt the toot. Oh, it’s just someone blowing a damned saxophone. Regular rangers do it too. Krush Groove; the load you dump will be your own and hilly, hilly, buggers the team and plays with it too.

The dream then stated Gregory, the kicker is, truth you do, but no one is going to hurt you.

I do truth but no one will hurt me? mimed Gregory.

No.

Meanwhile gone out of the way is the talent for swimming and in comes the truck of worms for the Gordons. A woman and a man; they are the Gordons. The Gordons are rich. They own a big worm store; Gordon’s Worms; BAIT it says out front. The fishermen come for worms. Tootle the truck horn. They discovered Gregory Lopper. He’d tried everything else but was no good at it; so, he dreamt of swimming. So, Gordon’s Worms sponsors Lopper the swimmer and pays for his place in the season house. So he eats, has a place to live and sleep, and he swims. Makes little or no sense anyway; the right is the side you want to greet, and nowhere else will anyone tell you different.

The great day arrived; the megaphone pronounced.

And in lane nine, Gregory Lopper, the swimmer, sponsored by Gordon’s Worms!

The great swimmer took the stand at his lane and hunkered down to hear the starter’s pistol; Gregory Lopper was still his name.

The shot! The plunge! Gregory Lopper pushes and grasps his way down his lane kicking and screaming inside. Pump! Pump! Pump! Up the lane, reach the wall—

Turn! Kick!

Liquid time!

The Gordons stand and yell and cheer. And cheer and yell and stand.

Number bat the number of laps and Bruce the King rules; Bruce the King is in his box far above clipping a’yippin’ and a’dancin’. They take the first lap—Lopper’s in the lead by a nose and swish they turn around again. The Gordons met Bruce the King once when Lopper won the finals; Bruce the King swabbed his nose and worked his way around to Mrs. Gordon.

How would you like to take a dance, my dear my dear my dear?

No, fat, the race is enough, she answered; Lopper is a great swimmer; kick the boots!

Mister Gordon shook Bruce the King’s hand—handbones nearly crushed, he yelled out but it went silent in the great void between the King and Gordon—the king let go and out the block went the Peter—the Peters follow Bruce the King everywhere to make sure he has what he needs; and he badly wanted Mrs. Gordon.

Lopper thrashed and slithered still in the lead gripping the water gripping it pulling himself along kicking and breathing that funny way the swimmers do; he gasped in the air and blew it out—his nearest competitor was a length behind in blue Speedo and rubber cap. No room in Lopper’s skull for thought nothing but push, grip, kick, turn; here’s the wall again; duck, dive kick, push, shoot. There are three laps gone; Bruce the King is in his box rooting for the man of his favorite woman. The Gordons’ money is why Lopper is here—the King’s box is ermine trimmed and gold rimmed and bejeweled and he screams his lungs out rooting.

Lopper!

Lopper!

Lopper!

Go Lopper!

His eye thrust up Mrs. Gordon’s shooter all the while he raves. The swim race went on, but was secondary—Mister Gordon clapped and clapped rap the clap is the way rap the clap and soundly cheer your man on. Lopper is sluicing through the water, muscles flexing. The King sent a Peter down by swimside; the wormers jumping up and down, the Peter yowled. Flex those arms and legs—stay ahead—the Gordons must win, through Gregory Lopper—with that Lopper turned at the wall and kicked promptly off, slicing once more the water. Crowd the stool and crack the bread, in the box the bread was the major thing the eating of the bread in time with the swimmers—pumping pumping pumping pumping—the splashing of the swimmers, the cornbread—blue stools! Blue stools! Crazy! The Peter went through the crowd as ordered to Mrs. Gordon’s side—she leapt and leapt as grandly they entered one of the last laps of the great swim race. Lopper makes the turn, half a length ahead of Seaman now—Ross Seaman, his closest rival. Rump the Gods pray hard for the swimmers they are working so hard in the deep deep water Lopper pees and this invigorates him—as his bladder empties the growls roar from deep in the crowd of the cheering of the arena full of people and the crucifixion—The King’s Peter reached Mrs. Gordon and sat in an empty seat next to her.

What a race, says the Peter. How do you like the race how are you doing the King wants to know. It’s been an age. Rap the lop lead and strain for the winner to be your dear darling Lopper.

The sound of the splashing from the swimmers rose from the air and filled the arena. As the race roared toward the close the Peter put his hand on the thigh of Mrs. Gordon and said the King would like to see you after the great swim race. Next Seaman’s bladder empties and he creeps up on Lopper and Lopper reaches, reaches, nearing the wall, the final wall, the final final wall—and is cut off at the wrist by the hand of Seaman.

Seaman is the winner! Lopper second! Bert and Ernie third and fourth!

It is a grand shame, cried the Peter, gripping her thigh harder. Gently she pushed it away.

Sauron! Wring out the final victim from the race and stinky stinky stinky babies, cried the Peter. Lopper and Seaman and Bert bobbed at the end of their lanes. Bruce the King’s hands wrung and he didn’t know so he accidentally punched himself in the jaw, and the Peters came around and said King King King are you all right are you lonely just like me, and so forth? Mr. and Mrs. Gordon left the arena, in no mood to speak to Lopper; second place is better than no place, so they say, but there’s no proof; Lopper was lost in the bustle of leaving; after toweling off he went back to the season house for further dreaming; off with his Speedo; off with his cap; north; south; east; west; naked nude in the bed, sheet flung over, with the standard dream of the great first place drive that never ever would be, exhausted from warring with the water, carrying his goldleafed feltbottomed second place trophy that would end up on Gordons’ Worms’ mantle, with the other second places he had won; first place would not be his in this life, this life; gasping, he thrashed; next would be to get up and make stool; relief; and the King’s Peter went back up to the King and said she is gone, she is gone, back to Gordon’s Worms—Bruce the King was angry but he got over it as soon as he left the swimming arena—something about an olympic-sized pool brought out the worst in him—the desires, the lusts—once back at home, he found others to Peter, more nearby and willing—and that was the end of the big swim race. The boil is busted and bloody where you can’t reach it in back do you think you could put a bandage on for me? Oh, oblivion! Oblivion! Sleepers awake!



About the Author: Jim Meirose's short fiction has appeared in leading journals. His novels include "Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer"(Optional Books), "Understanding Franklin Thompson"(JEF), "Le Overgivers au Club de la Résurrection"(Mannequin Haus), "No and Maybe - Maybe and No"(Pski's Porch), and "Audio Bookies" (LJMcD Communications) coming in 2024. Gen'l info: www.jimmeirose.com @jwmeirose


 

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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.

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