Archive | February, 2011

Jury Duty

23 Feb


[Editor’s Note: God, that’s creepy. What are you laughing at? You should let the reader know.]


The other day, I had jury duty. The day that wasn’t today. I couldn’t write in the courtroom. They don’t let you write. Maybe they’re afraid you’ll take notes on the case and then lose them at a fancy restaurant you’re paying to eat at with your luxurious $6 stipend they give you for missing a day of work.

[Editor’s Note: Okay, so you’re not going to tell them what you were laughing at?]

[Kyle’s Note: Oh, something somebody told me at the grocery store today. It’s not important.]

[Editor’s Note: Then why’d you include it here?]

This is the second time I’ve been summoned to jury duty. The first time, I was able to nimbly slip out of duty by way of being a college student in another county. I don’t have that luxury anymore. I’ll have to get more creative if I want to get out of this.

So now I sit in the attorney’s office. He sits at a large oak desk. I sit in a somewhat comfortable padded seat that doesn’t recline. It’s the first thing I tried when I came in. I’m about to be interviewed to see if I’m fit for jury duty.

“Mr. Irion, how are you today?” the DA asks.

“I’m okay. I’m at jury duty, though. And that sucks.”

An uncomfortable chuckle. “Well, as inconvenient as it may be, we must all–”

“And I don’t like the way the DA’s looking at me. Looking at me like I got a knife in my left shoe.” The attorney stops laughing. His eyes dart to my left shoe. He motions to two bailiffs and they pat me down. When they get to my left shoe, I call out “Ah HA! My secret shame!” a menacing smile stretched across my face. They remove a half-eaten Butterfingers bar from my shoe. I reach out for it, licking my lips and making “mmmm” sounds. A bailiff swats my hand down and walks out.

The attorney and I sit again. I keep smiling at him and winking with both eyes. The attorney just squirms in his seat and pulls a pen from his pocket. I double wink at him five or six times in a row, rapid fire.

“Okay, sorry about that. We can’t be too safe here.”

“I understand. I understand completely. Danger is afoot,” I say, pointing at my right foot.

The district attorney sighs and waves the bailiffs over once again. This time he seems much less frantic. The bailiffs pat me down, one working my mid section while the other takes a knee and reaches down to my right foot.

“Yoohoo! My darkest insides!” Thinking on the fly, my declarations are sometimes abysmal and/or nonsensical. The bailiff pulls my shoe off of my foot and reaches into the shoe. In the shoe is a hand drawn picture of Apollo Creed standing next to my mom and me with Maury in the background saying “Apollo, you ARE the father!”

Disturbed, the bailiff hands the picture back. I crumble it up and throw it behind me.

“One more time. Here we go. Mr. Irion, why do you think you’d be a good juror?”

“Well, I’m used to making hard decisions.”

“Are you? Give me some examples.”

“Sure. I remember one summer my family and I were traveling across the country.”

“Has your family done a lot of traveling?”


“I’m sorry to interrupt. Go on, please.”

“Well, we were going across the country. It was hot, of course, and we were running low on food and water. Problem was, we were out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Oh dear.”

“We reached this river, and the decision fell on me as to how we were going to cross it–if we were going to cross it at all. The water looked pretty deep, but I could still see rock formations, so I wasn’t sure how deep.”

“Wait, what?”

“We could either ford the river, look for another place to cross, or get a ferry.”

“Hold on a second.”

“Either way, we were all pretty sure Jed was going to die of cholera before we reached the other side.”

“All right. All right. That’s enough. Are you just recapping a game of Oregon Trail?”


The DA sighs once again and pinches the bridge of his nose. He’s holding his glasses in the same hand he pinches with.

“Fine. I really don’t want to ask this, but I have to finish the questionnaire with everyone. Do you think you could feel confidently in a decision on whether someone had committed a crime or not, although you would have no control as to what their punishment would be?”

“I’m okay with the chair, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“That’s,” he looks at the card. “No, that’s not what I’m asking.”

“Well, okay, but for the record, I want it noted that I’m okay with the chair. I’m pro-chair. I don’t think we use it enough.

“I don’t th–”

“Ain’t I crazy?” I ask, spittle on my chin, my hand waving wildly behind me. I don’t explain this.

“Well, Mr. Irion,” the DA says, standing up. “Thank you for coming in today. We’ll let you know in one half hour whether you have been chosen or not.”

I was not chosen.

The End.

Snow Day

11 Feb

“This idea seems less than great,” I calmly say to Derek, my right hand tightly gripped to the handle above the passenger-side window.

“I think I just need to straighten out here…” Derek responds, his voice slightly fading out while he peeks over the steering column.

We are in Derek’s 2005 Saturn Ion. We are in the culdesac in front of our house, spinning slowly, making little, if any, forward progress. A dog casually walks by our impotent rotation.

“Yea, just let me turn this here,” Derek says, once again trailing off. I nod my head and start texting my mom and dad telling them how much I loved them and that I promise not to ruin the surprise when I find out what really happens to people when they die.

Eventually, Derek’s tires catch on a dry patch of asphalt and that gives us the traction to get some forward momentum. We’re moving.

Derek and I are headed to Pat’s to play in the snow and eat lunch. The drive is treacherous. The drive is long. We barely make it over 20 mph, and the one time we do it’s on accident when we have an accident that Derek decides no one needs to know about.

Eventually we make it to Pat’s apartment complex. Because of how icy the ramp leading up to Pat’s building is, we park across the street. Even the walk is difficult. I’m wearing old cowboy boots I found in my garage and Derek is wearing some sort of hiking boot that looks ridiculous but not as ridiculous as when you fall on your ass with your hands in your pockets. We shuffle across the street, our backs bent, our bodies curled inward in an attempt to stay as warm as possible.

There is only one car on the road. A Toyota Celica going probably 8 mph, its powerful engine clearly struggling on the slick ice. Derek and I make the first burgeoning steps up the frozen ramp. I immediately lose traction, my top half jerking forward as my feet slide back. Derek’s arm immediately grabs the shoulder of my coat, holding me up. Here we stand, like well-dressed Siamese twins. The Celica continues its slow approach. Derek is now using me for balance as I use him for balance. If he lets me go, if I fall back, I will be run over in what will appear to be a death in slow motion.

“BOYS!” Patrick screams from the top of the ramp. His long, wild hair even wilder for all the wind whipping through it. He tosses Derek a rope. It lands at Derek’s feet. Slowly he bends down to grab it. My foot slips.


Derek tightens his grip and grabs the rope. Patrick begins to pull us up.

“Where’d you get this rope, Pat?” Derek asks as we’re being pulled to safety.

“I bought it for moments like this,” Pat responds. I’m fairly certain moments like these didn’t enter into the equation when Pat bought this rope. Not even once. I imagine Pat, alone, late on a weekday night. Freshly graduated. Infinitum of potential and no real clear direction to focus this potential. I imagine Pat tying things in his apartment to other things and then laughing hysterically about it, rolling about the floor clutching his gut, his face red with delight.

Pat opens the door to his apartment and warm air wafts out to meet us, like the kind arms of old friends, guiding us into their home.

“Whoa, shit!” Derek screams, swatting at his chest and arms. “That air felt like the kind arms of old friends, guiding us into their home. Jesus. Jesus that was weird.”

I wink at the camera.

Pat gestures for us to be seated on the couches in his living room.

“Lunch is almost done,” Pat says. His smile is devious. He’s wearing a red Snoopy sweater. Eighteen seconds pass. “Lunch is done,” Patrick says, his back to us, working on the food that must be on the counter in front of him. “Now close your eyes,” Patrick says, barely glancing at us from over his shoulder. “Close them. It’s a surprise.”

Hesitantly, Derek and I both close our eyes. Almost immediately there is the sound of plates being sat in front of us and the warmth of cooked food rising to our faces.

“Okay, reach down and take your first bite. No peeking!”

I lift what appears to be a toasted sandwich. I’m excited. The bread feels like a bun. I begin to wonder what kind of burger this is I’m about to eat. My teeth sink into the sandwich and I immediately recoil from the meal, jets of white-electric pain shooting through my teeth and into my gums.

“Good God!” I yelp. “What is this?! It’s ice cold!” I open my eyes. In my hands is a snowball wrapped in a toasted hamburger bun.

“It’s a Snow-Manwich!” Patrick yells. He begins laughing like a maniac. He smacks the table a few times. He’s laughing, but somehow he looks like he wants to cry. Derek and I exchange a frightened glance and begin to chuckle falsely.

“Hey, Pat. How about we go outside. Maybe walk to Big Mike’s. Get a coffee or something,” I say. His eyes dart to mine, penetrating them violently and without lubrication. I want to scream.

“Yea, that sounds great. Let me get dressed,” he says. He puts a single glove on his left hand and then walks to his bedroom. I check my phone and Derek thumbs through a Time that’s sitting on Pat’s kitchen table. “Ready” Pat whispers from the door, minutes later. “I’m ready now.” He does this three or four times before we notice him. When we do, we promptly get up and walk outside.

The journey to Big Mike’s is a long one. My feet are soaked through almost immediately and the aching of my toes seems to spiral up into all my joints, infecting them with a terrible, throbbing emptiness. Derek tries to pee his name out into the snow. He unzips his pants, cackling, steam erupting from his scarved mouth. His eyes are the eyes of a child. His back to us, Patrick and I watch. The sound of zipping and then a pause. Across the ocean, waves crash against craggy shores as they have for eons before there were men to observe and admire; in a forest in Montana, a mother Swallow feeds her frail young as they cry to her, their voices barely audible above the sound of winter wind whistling through the pines; the Statue of David stands proudly, a marker to a world gone by. With the suddenness of a lightning strike, Derek screams out. He turns to us, his pants still down. Where his genitals should be is the smoothest surface Pat and I have ever seen on a human body. Derek’s penis, so bitten by the cold, has turned up into his body.

Zoom out from the three dark figures on the blighted parking lot–now a sea of white. Insects on a blank page. One figure among the three cries out in a terrible moan and then says something about a mangina.

The End.

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