you think you’ve seen everything

by Justin Hyde
Salty Dreams
First Place, June 2009
Judged by Duncan Mercredi


silver-dollar eyed
guy in the corner
of the flying-j
talking gibberish
loudly
to himself.

that’s nothing
we’ve all
seen it.

but still

after pissing
you ask the waitress
if he’s alright.

he’s a regular,
she says.
a Vietnam
vet.

that makes sense.
you go back to
reading a little
sartre.

he jumps out of his
booth.

starts doing the
twist.

6’3
250 pound
bear of a man

grinding it out
like a
motherfucker.

smiling from
one end of the room
to the other

belting out chubby checker
so loud
it’s vibrating your
ribcage from
seven booths over.

he comes toward
your booth.

motions for you to
get up and dance.

it’s not fear
and it’s not
pity.

you don’t
exactly know
what the hell
is going on.

but
you do it.


We've all been there, as an observer or the observed, minding our own, speaking to ghosts or the gods in our own private place. Then someone intrudes, just to peek inside your mind, seeking the message you have hidden within you. Time to time, they'll let you in but there's always a price to pay isn't there? Excellent piece of writing with a surprise "twist" at the end. --Duncan Mercredi

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