Skip to main content

Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 36 page 05



by Robert Casella

Undertakers, dentists, and shoe salesmen are all under the ban. What ban? The ban issued by the government. Why would a shoe salesman be banned from anything? I couldn’t tell you, seigneur. I’m not the one who makes the rules. I am simply the messenger. I’m not particularly proud of the work I do, but it pays the rent, and the benefits are pretty good. I didn’t know messengers received benefits. Yes, they do. Or some do. I’m one of the lucky ones. I see. Well, in my opinion, you’re the victim of a brutal regime. I wouldn’t say that too loud if I were you, seigneur. Informants everywhere. Informants? This doesn’t seem like that kind of town. Looks can be deceiving, my friend. Be careful. Wow, thanks for letting me know. I sure hope I’m not being shadowed by the secret police. Everyone is shadowed by the secret police, seigneur. Ha ha, well, at least I’m not the only one, right? You are certainly not the only one, that I can assure you. Well, no matter, I’m taking the first train back to the city. There are no more trains leaving the terminal, seigneur. What do you mean no more trains? The president has decreed it, don’t you read the newspapers? No, I don’t read the newspapers. How is anyone supposed to travel without the trains running? That’s the point. There will be no more travelling. But I have to be back at the office on Monday. My wife is expecting me tomorrow evening. She’s picking me up from the train station. Forget your job, your wife. They no longer matter. You are one of us now. What are you talking about? This is crazy. It isn’t crazy, seigneur, it’s quite rational. I’m a human being! I have rights! Please, keep your voice down, for your own good, seigneur. No one likes a revolutionary. I’m not a revolutionary! I’m an accounting clerk with a mortgage and a peptic ulcer and a receding hairline. In other words, I’m nobody. Really. Nobody. I just want to go home. Unfortunately that isn’t in the program, siegneur. Well what am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to live? I don’t even have a place to stay or a way to feed myself. You will be provided with a new job, a new wife, and your own apartment, a modest one, courtesy of the state. All you have to do is comply with our very reasonable demands. You’re joking, right? You gotta be joking! No, I’m not joking, seigneur. You are a greatly valued commodity and we want you to be fulfilled. This is insane! I’m a prisoner, I’m being held against my will! Do you favor brunettes or blonds? Excuse me? Do you prefer a wife with brown or blond hair? You know this is completely nuts, right? Please, seigneur, answer the question. But it’s stupid, it makes no sense. Are you trying to play me for a fool? Seigneur, I assure you I am not trying to make a fool of you. It is an earnest question. I am here to help you. Well, if I was really pressed to make a choice, I’d say brown hair, I guess. What about eye color and bust size? What? Eye color and bust size, seigneur. Oh God, this is demented. I feel dirty. Seigneur, please answer the question. Uh, if I had my druthers, I’d pick brown eyes and, well, yeah, large breasts. There, are you happy now? How large would you like your new wife’s breasts to be, seigneur? I dunno, I really don’t. I haven’t thought about it. I mean, if I was allowed to choose, I’d say, in my wildest dreams, a wife with Double D breasts. Maybe Triple D. And perky too, not saggy ones. Pardon me while I jot this down in your file, seigneur. You have a file on me? Everyone has a file, seigneur. It’s nothing to worry about. Perky, not saggy. Noted. You can actually do that? Yes, we want you to be happy in your new life with us. Now, do you want her to be very intelligent, moderately intelligent, or dumb as a brick? Ah, that one is easy. I’d say dumb as a brick. I know that sounds shallow of me, but smart women are a pain in the ass. Think they know everything and always busting your chops. Yeah, put that in my file. Dumb. Yes, seigneur. Give us a week to a month to make the arrangements. Sure. I mean, however long it takes, right? I really don’t have any expectations, know what I mean? You seem like someone who quickly adapts to new situations, seigneur. You’ll find yourself in the swing of things in no time. Most individuals do. Well, ah, can I ask you a question then? Sure, seigneur, ask away. Will this new wife of mine give me, y’know, uh, sex whenever I want it? Absolutely, seigneur. No kidding? No kidding. Okay, well, if I’m forced to stay here, against my will, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, right? After all, I’m a pragmatist. I can see the writing on the wall. I have to adapt and survive. That’s right, seigneur. You understand. Sure, I understand. You like me and you don’t want me to leave your town. It’s a compliment, really. It is, seigneur. Well, I have to say, despite the more draconian aspects of my subjection, it’s nice being wanted for a change. It’s nice to feel appreciated. I agree, seigneur. I think you’ll be very happy here. Yeah? Yes, seigneur. You will. Oh yes.