The Light Tower
There is an immense light on immense legs. It is as if the bulb of a lighthouse were rolled onto the legs of a water tower. As men lose their hair and graduate high school, they ascend the ladder up the tower. They got a woman pregnant, or had to shave their head, or lost a testicle to cancer. They sling beers down their backs and climb up the light. At 1,000 Watts, a Tungsten bulb burns at 575 degrees. They drink beer until they can push themselves into the light.
The Mounted Speaker
There is a mounted wall speaker which the men gather, too.
You are hateful, says the mounted wall speaker.
The men push their heads closer to the concrete wall under the speaker, as if they were piglets pushing for the nipples of the sow.
You are dirty tricksters and liars, says the mounted wall speaker.
The men push so hard that some chests collapse and the bodies of the dead men dangle, suspended in the sea of ravaging shoulders.
You are rotten eggs, says the mounted wall speaker.
The man comes into the television room.
I have had enough of this life, says the man to the television.
The television shows the man an ad for Pepsi-Cola.
I said I have had enough! says the man.
The ad for the Pepsi-Cola becomes louder than the man can think.
Enough! says the man.
The apartment fills with the refreshing scraping and clacking of a thousand cans of Pepsi-Cola.
The man crawls to his television, reaching out to it, as if it will pull him from the crevice of living. Pepsi. Cola, he says.
The television spits on the man. It reminds him of his mother.
Ben Crowley is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is happy to get back to writing because he has already paid a kidney, a finger and a thumb to Deep Overstock and is considering dishing out three molars. Ben used to sort books for the Amazon warehouse, in our beautiful backcountry of western Pittsburgh. Now he drives a truck, but he’s still selling books at whatever diner, truckstop or seedy hotel he finds himself in.