Sunday, 17 February 2019

That Was the MUSE That Was

Confirmation—September 27, 2018

“I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer,” he says, sloshing down 
a glass of water. I wanted to say, ok! ok! You like beer! But I could
not get my eyes off of his tongue, tucked like a gopher in his cheek, 
his wife’s droopy eyes hanging off of his right ear, listening, leaning 
into his denial. She’s heard it before. It’s how she’s mastered this look, 
head down and to the left, as if taking in the news that her puppy is 
dead and she’d killed it. “Dogs. All of them,” I imagine her thinking, as
she stares at the back of his pasty Georgetown neck and round little 
head, a mushroom, one as indistinguishable from the next, Squee’s or 
Judge’s, or even the Commander in Chief’s, a man who, through the 
fog of a sober mendacity, managed to utter, finally, what surely must 
be the unimpeachable truth—not a cock tale. He doesn’t drink, has 
never drank. Not one glass. But, he asks, “Can you imagine if I had, 
what a mess I’d be? I'd be the world's worst.” And somewhere, in the 
West Wing, maybe the East Room, or the Rose Garden, a woman 
waits, silent, alone. “Here he’ll come soon,” I can hear her say, and she 
begins to pray: “No, no, no, no, no, no,” but she knows no one is 
listening. No one ever does.

© Benjamin D. Carson

Benjamin D. Carson lives with his dog Dora on the South Shore of Massachusetts. His creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of publications, including, but not limited to, The Ampersand Review, Red Fez, Cactus Heart, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Free Inquiry, Poetry Leaves, and The Charles River Review.