It’s Always Monday
By Robert L. Penick
Debbie Delivers is in the shower, washing my stink off herself. She’s going home to her husband now. Whenever they fight, she shows up at my house. Payback. It’s the one time I’m ever useful. When she emerges, wrapped in a towel, she gives me a warm smile. She’s not mad at him anymore. She dresses, we hug, I give her bus fare and she trots off down the street. I return to my biography of Kafka and start thinking of dinner.
I’m not the sort of person you remember on his birthday. More likely, you’ll recall my existence when you need help moving. When the shoulder you tend to cry on isn’t available. At the moment a relative gets arrested and it pops into your head I work for an attorney. Or, like Debbie, when your husband treats you like refuse. That’s okay. I’m used to it. I have Kafka, who did his thing, then died in anonymity. I have a Boston terrier who sleeps in the sunlit space beneath the window. I have Van Morrison on the CD player.
Later, Debbie calls. She’s left her watch behind, would I mind putting it away for her, for next time? I find it on the dresser, next to the clock radio. The time is correct but, for some reason, the second hand, the one that can measure heart rate, does not move.
The work of Robert L. Penick has appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, and The California Quarterly. He lives in Louisville, KY, USA, with his free-range box turtle, Sheldon, and edits Ristau, a tiny literary annual. More of his writing can be found at http://www.theartofmercy.net