Concentrate, You Fool!



Wait! I remember! It was…


My impotence leaps from fragments of my inspiration, to fragments of my to-do list, & I stop.


I stop thinking. I maybe stop breathing.

My thoughts curl down my consciousness with the will of meat from a grinder, & just as I begin gathering them into a malleable mass the phone rings.

“Just calling to confirm that you received my fax.”

I murmur something, & cradle the phone with purpose.

I must concentrate.

A feeling like newborn fingernails scratching at the inside of my skull tells me this is more important than anything.

I must concentrate.

I see the department head looking toward my cube holding a stack of papers. I shove off from my desk & walk the other way.

Safe in a locked bathroom stall I drop the toilet lid & massage my temples.

It was something about…

The toilet in the next stall flushes noisily. The man gets to his feet, suspenders & pocket change jangling, & bangs out of the stall.

And it’s gone.


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