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Ills While Here
by John Ramos
I 's white here and smells like sick. I'm tired. My arm itches. I
wish I could scratch it, but I can't because it's in a cast. I can't
watch TV either because the old man is sleeping. He snores. The
nurse said, "Go to sleep, Petey, you need rest." I do but not yet.
Ben came today. He said, "Guess what, Petey, we're going to live
with Aunt Evvy." She said, "Oh God bless, you poor, poor thing,"
and kissed me a lot. I don't like Aunt Evvy.
I like Ben. Sometimes he's mean to me. Sometimes he hits me. I
still like him, though. When he is with me I feel the same like when
Daddy puts me in bed and says about the bedbugs. Once he spilled
beer and said, "Oh, look, Petey, I wet your bed." It was funny. I have
to keep close to Ben so I can feel that good way a little. I can't cry,
though. because then Ben won't like me. Once when I fell down and
hurt my knee he said, "Don't cry, Petey, only babies cry." I'm not a
Once there was baby kittens on the road and they ran around
goingv mew mew. The ma cat was run over. I went over there and
she was moving still. She said sss and her head went down. I put the
balbies in a box in the garage and gave them milk. In the morning
tlhu: were all cold. I pushed them around with my finger but they
didnit move. I)addy said, "They were just too young, Petey. I'm
sorry,- and then he buried them. I don't know why he was sorry.
TIhe doctor said, "I'm sorry, my little man," when I told him I want
to go home. I said, "I'm a big man," and he winked at the nurse and
laughCel and said, "Oh, of course." 'hen I said, "I'm (lead." He
sto ppd laughing and went outside to talk with the nurse real soft.
The (sd man in the next bed said, "You're not dead, Sonny, don't say
th:r< - almost said, "I'm not your sonny," but then I didn't because
peIxople die who I talk to. I'm not going to talk to people any more.
I hate this cast The nurse said, "Your arm's broken, Petcy" It
doesn i hurt though. Ma's arm was sticking out funny and I could see
the hone. H-er face was twisted up like she was hurt bad. I was going
to help her, but I think I went to sleep because I don't remember
runt Lvy says Ma is happy where she is now, God bless.
Tur men came in and said, "Talk to us, Petey, we want to help."
\untt Vvvy was there and she yelled at them. "Let him alone. His
parents are dead, God rest their souls." She always says about souls. I
dont think I have a soul. At least I never saw it. Aunt Evvy yelled
and velled at the two men. They said, "Calm down, Ma'am, we're as
concerned as you." I didn't say anything because I was thinking
a bout Ma in heaven. She is with God, Aunt Evvy says. God is dead if
he's in heaven. I didn't know God is dead. I'll ask Ben. Ben's smart.
I le goes to the big school with hot lunch. Today he said, "Petey why
dont you talk to me?" I didn't tell him why because then he would
say. "'oy, are you crazy."
I'm not crazy. I'm clever. That's what Daddy said. He turned
around and said, "You're quite a clever guy, Petey." Ma said, "Will
you please watch the road?" There was a wham. Then it was dark.
Then I woke up and Daddy looked at me with blood in his eye. His
mouth was open and I thought he was going to tell me something.
Al he said though was aaa real soft and his head went bump on the
The two men keep saying, "Talk, Petey, talk talk talk." I don't
want to talk. I want to go home and play with Ben. We play tag and
hide and seek and Ma makes us sardines. Once I had a good spot to
hide by a tree. The tree was straight at the bottom but got all bent
higher up. )addy said that's because it got hit by lightning once but
kept growing anyway. I told Ben I feel sorry for it though and cut it
down with a little saw for Christmas. It took a long time and then Ma
was mad when she saw.
I tokd Aunt Evvy I want to go home. She said, "No, dear, your
home is with me now, God bless, God bless." I said, "Shit god bless."
Aunt Ivvy didn't like that. She said, "You're young and the Lord will
forgive, God bless." I don't want to live with Aunt Evy. I want to
live with Ma and Daddy. They aren't gone like Aunt Evvy says.
Thev're at home, I bet. When the nurse goes away, I'll pull out these
dumpb tles and find them.
Jo bn eamos is a junior in the School of Natural Resources.
by Matt Rohrer
GWho among you
knows not what
you do?" I asked.
I felt like God, and it was all
right. The men at the table
looked up from their drinks and
stared at me without answering.
"Who among you knows not
what you do? It's my job to
"Oh, well in that case, I guess
it must be me," said a confused
looking man in a white lab coat.
"Well, then, come with me," I
said and led him from the table
out the door with my arm
around his shoulder, telling him
of the many things to come. We
walked out of the caf6 into the
"Do you come to that cafe
often?" I asked.
"No, I've never been there
before in my life."
"Just out for a pleasant night
with some friends, I see."
"Well, no, not that really
either. You see, I have no idea
how I got there. One minute I
was discussing the Enormous
Space Tube when I suddenly felt
very queasy, and weak, and like I
had the cold shivers. Then, the
next thing I remember, I was
sitting in that caf6 with those
"And you knew not what you
"Good. That's where I come
"How do you mean? I don't
"Listen: it's my job to forgive
you since I am God, but I also
like to give you a little advice,"
and I reached into my coat and
produced a syringe from the
"Wait aksecond. You're not
"No no no, don't worry, it's
not for you," I said as I shot a
bolt of hot fluid into my arm,
"Now let me get this straight:
you knew what you were doing
when you were discussing the
Enormous Space Tube. Where
"In the lab. My colleagues
and I are working on a tube
delivery system for orbit
"OK, OK, never mind all that.
So, then, as soon as you were in
the cafe, you didn't know what
you were doing?"
"I don't know. I just thought
"I really don't think you were,
but even if you were that's not
the point. The point is you
didn't know what you were
"True. I had no idea. But how
did I get there? Why don't I
remember leaving the lab? The
last thing I knew I felt cold and
clammy, and then I was drinking
"Well, that is quite a little
question, isn't it? You know,
we're nothing if we're not a
nation of addicts, so perhaps
you are addicted to some mind-
"I really don't think so, unless
"-without knowing it, I was
going to say. My suggestion is to
stick around the lab where you
know what's up." And with
another shot I spread my wings
and flew off into the rain.
Matt Rohrer is a senior in the
Residential College's Creative
Writing program. This is the first
published story for Rohrer, who
won a Hopwood Award for
poetry in 1989.
Irg7 I i
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