The machines begin at sunrise. Many sound angry.
Their operators convulse with rage. Their faces betray
the bestial side of themselves. Armed, they would kill.
But they drive enormous hunks of metal that can be
“I snapped the other day.”
“Crossing the street a Mercedes came to a stop and I
thought it okay to continue. Then the fucker lurched
“He lurched forward?”
“At my legs. I backed off in time. Then I punched his
windshield so hard it cracked.”
“You punched his windshield?”
“Did anyone see you?”
“What if he had a dash cam?”
“Guys, buddy almost killed me.”
“Yeah, but cracking the man’s windshield.”
“It’s pretty barbaric.”
“You could do time for something like that.”
“You could get arrested.”
The din deepened. I could only stand so much. I
decided to gather up the boys and put them away.
“What are you doing?”
“That hurts, Sammy.”
Yes, I gathered them up in my hands, all of them. They
wriggled. They struggled. One of them bit me with his
little teeth and it smarted, but I squeezed them and
they screamed and continued screaming as they fell
into the felted box where I kept them during the night
or when I grew tired of their voices.
Yeah, so I remember the person by using them in a
story. Like my Uncle Frank. He was a cool man. I miss
“Sammy, what are you doing?”
“Hey, Uncle Frank.”
I kiss both his cheeks. He smells like Brut cologne,
something he wore when I was a child.
“Are you still in school?”
“Haha, no Uncle Frank. I finished a long time ago.”
“Do you still visit your mother?”
“Of course I do.”
He takes my hand and squeezes it.
“I remember everything, Uncle Frank. I’ll never forget
“Thank you, Sammy. You’ve been a good nephew. Not
always the most honest—”
“Come on, Sammy. We always knew what you were.”
Uncle Frank lights a cigarette with a match. He heats
the filter end with the match flame, then blows out the
match. I can smell the sulphur. He purses his lips and
pulls on the cigarette.
“Still smoking, eh?”
He smiles and shrugs. “It was my only vice.”
“That and a little poker.”
“I liked poker. I was never good but I liked it.”
“I still play.”
“That’s good, Sammy. Okay, it’s time for me to go.”
“What is it?”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Sammy. It’s okay over there. No worries.”
A car horn blares outside. I look up from my desk with
tears in my eyes. I hate the world sometimes.
Salvatore Difalco's work has appeared in a number of print
and online formats. He splits his time between Toronto and