Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine: Fall 2011
A student-run publication at Northeastern University, Boston, MA.
She's been getting that same message just about every weekend. And every time she gets it, she takes a little longer to respond. She writes a few more drafts, deletes them a few more times. She puts me down at least once and presses the send key like she's afraid it's booby-trapped. I don't know what she's doing, but it's going to kill my battery. My clock says an hour passed, and I was back outside on the good ole swinging-axe ride. She didn't touch me for the rest of the night. I'm about ready to shut off out of protest when we get back somewhere warm. We go up stairs and I feel a foreign hand run along the pocket housing me. All of a sudden, I'm on the floor in a pool of jeans (She should take me out of her pocket before she lets them drop, I can't take too many falls before I need to be replaced.) In a few minutes, it got a lot colder, and we were on the move. (I really hate it when she walks with me in her pocket. It's like being in one of those swinging-axe rides at carnivals, but I digress.) A few weeks ago I got a message and let out a ring. Judging by the amount of noise and the uncomfortable warmth and humidity of her pocket, we were at a party. I'm surprised she heard but she did. She took me somewhere quiet and stared at me. She typed a few words, hit clear, typed a few more. She pressed send. But one day she read me then pounded on me. She picked me up and screamed into my receiver, she screamed until I heard a click in my speaker. Then she cried. She didn't use me for a little while. She used to be able to make up her mind. She used pick me up, press me deliberately, and put me back in her pants; constantly, rhythmically, all day. There were never these times she looked at me, put me down, typed something, threw me on the couch, deleted what she typed, etc. She was efficient. She's doing it again. She's pressing my buttons. She keeps putting me down to do something else and seems to hit my backspace key more than the others. I don't think she can make up her mind. Lately, the rattle of my fridge has been keeping me awake. I know what you're thinking. "The rattle of his fridge? Does he mean the buzz? The hum?" Believe me when I tell you That I pine for the nights when I was troubled by The buzz or the hum. You see, I wasn't even going to have a fridge. Where I live I have to Either bring my own fridge or rent one. You know, the kind with a microwave attached. Who can afford to rent one? I have a tube TV. I was, I thought, prepared For a year of warm beer. For a year of doggie bags with Early expiration dates. Sell by twenty-four hours after the meal. But Aaron, he lent me his fridge. Has the rattle always been? For two weeks, I slept soundly Before it reared its ugly head. Bad vibrations. If I may: Has the fridge changed or have I changed? Did I put it in the wrong spot? Did I stick it with the wrong magnet? I've removed from its top everything: The clock radio, the plastic containers. And from its insides: The old sandwich, the bottle of tequila. The clock radio still goes off. The cold cuts are still cold. The fridge still rattles. I've taken to shaking it. I put it at the foot of my bed and, When it wakes me up in the middle of the night, I give it a kick. Sometimes that does the job.