Summary Judgment  

dedicated to Edward Gorey

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Hamantaschen, traditional cookies to celebrate Purim. Photo from Pixabay.

The gerbils are screaming. “Dispense with the pleasantries! You carrot-munching —!”… you shut the door and tiptoe down the fire escape. A window slams shut. One story beneath, wearing a bucket to protect his head, the cashier stacks boxes and boxes of Old Spice deodorant to reach the leaky ceiling. The other employees cut your “Happy Birthday” cake, but the table disappears. Top secret files about mango shortages and genetically modified explosive kiwis spill from the drawers. Now the ramen is everywhere. In the sky, google tasks and worried texts from Josephine (who left the party early) descend majestically on covered platters, carried by angels dressed in McDonald’s uniforms. This is your conscience speaking… We have an announcement to make. But the closet won’t open. So five muscular women carry surfboards down the hallway, blaring traditional Russian folk music. Pandemonium erupts: the principal begins shouting, the security guards break out slick dance moves. A responsible student runs to close the window, while months pass in Senegal… Ignore the body odor! Gather under the yurt! “Weighing more than thirteen and a half elephants —”. Everybody tells you to stop talking. How about using a more inventive pick-up line the next time, the astronomer suggests. Your coworker cries out in desperation: how can we finish this before Easter if they won’t provide funding for swiveling desks and maternity leave?!? She stares at you and chomps into the grapefruit rind, breathing heavily. Your father is mortified. In the distance, tadpoles are being eaten. A queue of spinny chairs salute and roll off the cliff. Conscripted lawyers bear witness behind mahogany desks while perspiring under the Arizona sun, preparing piles of death apology notes and dental records under the surveillance of Harry, the enlightened X-ray machine turned fanatical government overseer. Indeed, circumstances conspired against us… Too many left gloves. Too many closets. Not enough tampons. Your uncle’s neon pink carriage rumbles over the cobblestones, horses rearing as he shouts rudely at the honking caravan of cement trucks: finally, home! But old cookbooks and your dad’s unfinished PhD fall off the shelves as the floor collapses, a sinkhole swallowing your wife of twenty years and half your carpeted basement and your antique coal-burning furnace. Your cat’s inability to comprehend the disaster prompts you to abandon your dreams of Hollywood, so you call your ex-sugar daddy from your years in Sicily. He doesn’t understand. Magazines all feature your shocking actions leading to the collapse of the family business. Cameras flash and reporters gaggle. The pack of groundhogs furtively rappel down from the third story window, tying half-cooked ramen noodles to extend the rope as they go, hoping to avoid the gaggle of stir-crazy journalists desperate for the arrival of spring. Flocks of CDs barrel down the alley, fleeing the recycling women in green overalls. The president calls, but the justice department is busy hosting a barbeque. Unannounced, the oddly assorted cantaloupes gallop across the savanna, their potted-plant riders flailing their tendrils. The head justice says nothing. Your ex in a black speedo moonwalks down the crosswalk. Birds stare judgmentally. You forgot to lock the door. The interview ends.

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