Thursday 6 June 2024

My Plans for the Day by Wim Hylen, black coffee

Richard Braverman has been seeking out raw experience since his dirt bike days. Lizards of luck live in his brain. He is willing to do the hard work of curating the aquarium. He is the keeper of the keys.


I have nothing against Richard Braverman. He can work a metaphorical loom with considerable skill. So It is not animosity that makes him bear the brunt of my plans. It’s something deeper, an imbalance in the deep recesses of my lizard brain, my lack of an aquarium. When Richard comes strolling down the hallway, I’m going to dip out of my office and bump into him (Oh, I’m sorry, Richard). This contact will dislodge the keys from his ham hand. I’ll pick them up off the floor, dash to the elevator and down to my car then rush to my connection, Errol Garner, under cover of night. He will do with the keys whatever he sees fit: he may sell them to the Cossacks, donate them to the Museum of Outsider Art, or toss them into that dumpster that always seems to be aflame.


These actions will end my employment with Marsden & Kenyon, which is fine with me. I am no longer afraid to derail my life on a whim. Being unemployed will give me time to revisit old grievances, to intercede in the interrogation of Isaac Babel, to testify as an expert for the prosecution in the Salem Witch Trials.


It is crucial that we listen deeply to the birds of our inner self warbling, to be free. We must listen with the attention of an apprentice saxophonist digging the block chords coming out of the arthritic hands of the thickly bearded master. I am thinking now of the windswept beach in a black and white Swedish film where dejected lovers linger in front a dead horseshoe crab. I am also pondering the crusty preacher and his emotionally withholding wife who raised Richard Braverman. What must it have been like to grow old in the middle of a wheat field? No wonder Richard turned to dirt bikes.


Taking nothing but giving everything is the motto of those who keep the keys. I don’t know whether the keys actually unlock anything. That is a mystery and I aim to uncover the truth.


I ponder my future. I think about rolling my emotions into a giant ball and pushing it down a hallway of an abandoned building downtown. It will slowly gather momentum until it exceeds the speed limit of the school zone. When I reach the end of the hallway, there will be a giant door with a polished brass knob. ‘Come in, it’s unlocked,’ a voice will say. I’ll push open the door and there behind an imposing walnut desk will be Richard Braverman. I will offer him my giant ball and he will accept it with deep gratitude. It’s so soft, he will say, snuggling it like an infant grasping a plush horseshoe crab.

About the author 

 Wim Hylen’s work has appeared in The Westchester Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Cafe Irreal #13 and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among other places. He lives in Phoenix, AZ.

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