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Lake Effect, Spring 2005, Volume 9, from Anglers

Thomas Bonfiglio

from Anglers

You wanna play me? he says. Good. Play away. I wanna play my boss too, he says. He's so incompetent he could fuck up a glass of water. I'm waiting for him to die so I can have his office. Understand? I'd kill him if I had half the chance.

Uh, I say. Let go.

When I was on the phones, he says. When I was on the phones I broke a chair over my supervisor's head. I'd have thrown him out the window but the goddamn thing wouldn't open. I had to settle for three flights of stairs. I'd blow this goddamn place up right now if I had a guarantee that every last single one of you cocksuckers burned to death. He lets go but it still feels like his hands are implanted onto my chest. You hate me, he says. Take a goddamn number. Sign in ten minutes ago and get back to phones, he says, and opens his door for me. Go push meat, he says. You touch another performer out there I'll stomp your balls. Think meat. Oh, push the boats hard today. We're overstocked on the boats.

Everybody's looking at me as I go back to my desk. I'm rubbing my chest where his paws were and I can still smell the coffee on his breath.

I give a wink to my audience and activate my dialer. I've got that motherfucker on the run, I think. He's definitely on the run. Hey, I say to the voice on the other end of my headset. I'm calling from Sam the Butcher. I want to share with you a way to make your life easier, all the while cutting your grocery bills in half.

Jones, I think. Jones. I'll help him carry his boxes to his car when the time comes, and I might even keep that fishing net of his on the wall. I'm sure he'll let me. He won't be in any position to refuse. No, ma'am, I'm not selling anything. I couldn't sell you anything even if you wanted me to. I have nothing to sell. You could offer me a thousand dollars for my comb and it'll do you no good at all. Jones can have all his goddamn diplomas, all his diplomas and that fucking steering wheel and the compass, too. I have no interest in maps. Only an idiot needs a map to tell him where he's going. But that fishing net is gonna stay. That net isn't taking a goddamn step without me. Not for a long time it isn't.Lake Effect

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