I was running with the bulls when all of a sudden
I shouted out, “This is bullshit!” and turned to face
my assailants. With that, one of the bulls nearest to me,
responded, ‘What did I just hear you say?” And realizing
the peril of my situation I answered, “I said ‘this world
is run by bulls,’ animals who know how to take charge
and not feel guilty or remorseful when they trample over
someone who’s in their way!” With that the bull told me
to write my email address on one of his horns; that he
was a CEO and could use me in his company. He said
he’d be in touch soon and that he considered our meeting
to be prophetic. He then told me to exit through the door
on my left before they’d made another turn, because there
was sometimes killing, and at the very least, several who
got hurt and wound up spending considerable time recovering.
Thanking him, I did exactly as he suggested but realized
that I forgot to ask him which company he owned
and how he planned to use me.
WHAT I DISCOVERED
is that it’s the down time that really matters.
What we do between the seconds of joy and the waiting
for something to happen that turns out to be a dream
in which the spider sucks the juice out of the fly
like the proverbial milkshake we used to enjoy
before our favorite hamburger joint went out of business.
What else I discovered is that my 7th grade Spanish teacher
put all the pretty girls in the front of the class
so he could look under their dresses, laugh with them,
and teach them the good stuff like Te quiero
and Tu casa es mi casa while us boys sat in the back
imagining violent birds flying through the window
and pecking out our eyes for no other reason than they could.
And in the end I realized that each and every one of us
wants what we want for ourselves first,
that only if we’ve grown tired of what we have
are we willing to share with the person who fell by the wayside,
who can hardly lift themselves up to take another breath
between the fumes in the air
and the putrid smell of excrement on the water.
It’s all a discovery that leaves most of us speechless,
wondering why we continue to live in such a condition,
which is always conditional
on the day, the time, and century in which we live. . .
After Little Red and I were married we bought a cottage
near her Grandma so that we could keep an eye on her.
At first, we visited Grandma every day, but as Red and
I got busier and busier we were only able to stop by once
or twice per week.
Knowing how vulnerable Grandma was to wolves in the area,
we bought her an alarm system that sounded at our house
if there was trouble.
Everything was fine for a few months until one night
the alarm went off at about 3 a.m. and Red and I rushed
to Grandma’s house as fast as we could.
When we opened Grandma’s bedroom door we saw that she
was half way down a wolf’s throat.
Immediately, I picked up a chair and slammed it against the wolf’s
back which made him cough up Grandma, who understandably
was shaken and confused.
And before I had a chance to slam the chair over the wolf’s head,
he fled through the open window.
After this incident Red decided that Grandma should live with us,
which turned out O.K. because most of the time she was never
in our way.
Eventually we sold Grandma’s house to a nice family of bears
who soon became our friends and trusted neighbors.
Everything was fine until three depraved little pigs and their
sociopathic mother moved into the neighborhood.
From there, things went from bad to worse, the specifics of which
I’ll save for another story. . .
Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in MockingHeart Review, Colloquial, Ordinary Madness, Third Wednesday, After The Pause, Tower Journal, Fear of Monkeys, Brickplight, Tigershark, Corvus, and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.