bird2Escape Artist

by Brad Rose

Last week, I worked at 7-Eleven. This week, I’m designing rollercoasters. It’s not a miracle, it’s Imagineering. Even though I am not allowed to sleep while I’m at work, I still tell people, it’s my dream job. Of course, everybody knows there’s a secret to achieving the perfect double loop. I may not be formally trained as an engineer, but I have studied pretzels, and I am a really good guesser. When I draw pictures of bodies at rest, Loretta, my supervisor, says to me, “So, we’re off to the races, again, are we?” I tell her “No, Loretta, that would be ‘projectile motion.’” She says, “Don’t use scare quotes around me, Louis.” I change the subject as fast as I can. 

The problem with the world today is that it’s a dog-eat-god world. But alas, I get ahead of myself. The challenge for religion is to have as many demonstrative miracles as humanly possible. Every good Messiah must be either death-defyingly handsome, or diminutive as a Bonsai. Take, for example, Harry Houdini. Now there’s a guy who could make the ladies swoon, while escaping with both fishes and loaves. His touch was smooth as felt. He wore Bathyscaphe aftershave. He could swim like a porcupine. Sadly, as his wife often observed, “Harry, I’m sorry, but I think you’ve got your furry slippers on, inside out.” 

The key to a good story is to allow each of the characters to get themselves in and out of trouble. Unlike Jesus, however, most mortals get only one life and two deaths. The universe expands. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They get married. Poached, scrambled, over easy, sunny side-up, pretty soon, it’s one big sparkly mess, just like the best run casino in Las Vegas, only it’s highly kinematic. Before you know it, everyone’s looking for buried treasure, and working for cheerleader wages. I suggest that we climb, con brio, into the sideways elevator and give our post-college plans a good, hard re-think. The last thing we want to bring into this world is another unwanted children’s zoo. On the contrary, I suggest that each of us is filthy pretty, each in his own standardized way. For example, every time I sing in my sleep, I feel like I’m appearing buck naked in public. How do you explain that? I, for one, could certainly use some decent footnotes. That said, an apology is no excuse for an alibi—airtight, full of holes, or otherwise. So, don’t just stand there with your hands tied behind your back. Do something magical. But whatever you do, please don’t mention the ransom money to my landlady. Ever since her Budgies caught fire and exploded, she’s been a real stickler for the back rent. Aquamarine and lime green feathers, like confetti shrapnel, scattered everywhere. 


Brad Rose is a Pushcart Prize nominee in fiction, but his nominator cautioned, “Brad, don’t get your tux out of the dry cleaners just yet.” Always a realist, Brad has booked a ticket to Stockholm and has written his acceptance speech in Swedish, but no one has had the heart to tell him that Stockholm is the site of a whole other prize. Links to Brad’s fiction and poetry can be found here
%d bloggers like this: