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The Horse’s Mouth

March 2, 2012

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.


“So, what’d ya get?”

He looked down at his tray having already forgotten what it was he chose. Something on a ciabata roll, he remembered that much.


She laughed, “Forgot already, eh?”

He smiled, a somewhat rare thing. People often mistook that for anger, but really it was just genetics or something. He had a sense of humor, to be sure, he just didn’t smile for no reason like a lot of people.

“Roast beef!”

He took a bite.

“So. Whaddya think of your new phone?”

With one hand he pulled it from his coat pocket and laid it on the table next to his nearly unfolded paper with the roast beef sandwich on it as he placed the tray on the empty table nearby with the other.

“I don’t know. Just got it.

“Is it really free?”

“Yep. There are ads or something. Just have to pay a little for insurance in case you lose it.”

The phone played the default ringtone. He hadn’t gotten around to changing it yet.


“Hello! Greetings from Ruth’s Steakhouse. For a limited time you and a guest can dine for ten percent off—“

He pressed the red button.

“What was it?”

She took a bite of her mac-and-cheese and watched for his answer as if she were in front of some true crime cable show.

“A recording for a steak dinner.”

“Hey! You just mentioned roast beef.”

“I doubt very seriously—”


He snatched it up again.

“Do you have property insurance? For as little as $49.95 a month for the first year, you—”


“That time?”

She was clearly enjoying this.

“Property insurance.”

“That’s so weird! We just talked about insurance.”

“Gotta be a coincidence. I mean, that’d be illegal, right?”

She shrugged, “It’s free.”

“Yeah. Well, f*** that.”


“Are you a discrete professional looking for some after hours fun? Call 900—“

“Okay. That’s just weird.”

“Do I wanna know?”

“I can’t believe there’s not a law against—”



“Hi. This is Jacob with Space Age Democrats. How are you today? Great! The reason we’re calling is that the Republicans—after saying the democrats wanted to kill grandma last year—actually are trying to, by cutting Medicare and Social Security. So could you send us a gift of $50 or more to ensure that the grandma is safe from the clutches of Senator—”


“What a piece of s***!”


“Are you tired of the same old-same old in Washington? Sick of spending spiraling out of control? Sick of secret Muslims trying to create a one-world Communist / terrorist / totalitarian government at the United Nations with the help of space aliens? Vote for me! I’m Mi—“

“Goddamit!!! I’m not answering anymore.”


“Got an email,” was all she said between bites.

He thumbed to it with one hand, at last able to take a second bite of lunch after turning off the ringer.

“LOOKING FOR A NEW CHURCH HOME?” was the subject line.

He sighed heavily.

“Ok. This thing is going back right after lunch. I don’t care if it’s free. I’d rather pay for my own phone than put up with this.”

As if haunted, the phone somehow rang again even though he had turned the ringer off.


“Are you unhappy with your cellphone service? Why not try—”


“It’s going back! That’s that. If el jefe don’t like it, he can suck my—!”


“Got another email.”

“Don’t need to read it. Know what it says.”

He snatched up the phone and shouted into the microphone, “And I’m perfectly happy with its size, thank you very much!”

Those who glanced in his direction at the outburst didn’t stare for long. They merely frowned slightly and looked away as if they somehow understood.

“We’ll take it back after lunch,” she offered in a motherly way.

It rang once more but he said nothing and just let it ring. He just put his finger to his lips to keep her from talking long enough to finish his sandwich in silence.


From → NKINTRA, Short Story

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