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Blue Fifth Review 2016

December 7, 2016


Untitled by Nelly Sanchez

Because I read a passage that spoke of them, I hear the sound of church bells. The librarian shoots me a look. I must’ve scraped my chair or something. Gunshots—I need an aspirin. Maybe the librarian has one but she glares at me again. This morning I drove in to a school bus while texting and got concussed. These noises never happened before unless I was playing “Mimic” with my family, but those were mostly voices and I turned out to be the best mimic.


I close my book. I begin to write and in the opening scene the Pope walks out onto his greeting balcony and everyone in the courtyard looks up, applauding and cheering. I wish I had a volume switch in my head. The noise makes me tug my right ear and it gets louder. I try my left and it softens. What the hell! What a godsend. I think about getting on my motorcycle and heading to the hills of Italy but first I rev it up. Boy is it loud in my head. I tug my left ear and smile.


“This is a library and not a sound effects studio,” the librarian says, towering above me, arms folded, face contorted, bun shaking.


“What seems to be the problem?” I ask her.


“The problem is you’re sitting in a library surrounded by quiet sounds and you’re making noises—church bells, motorcycle, applause, and who knows what else. I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you do it again. You’re disturbing our other patrons.”


How can she hear what’s going on in my head? Maybe she should pull her left ear lobe to turn down the volume.


She scowls.


I walk over to a college-age man a few tables away and ask him. I explain about the concussion and the sounds and I give him ear instructions and go back to my seat. I read the church bell paragraph again and he nods his head. I motion an ear pull and he yanks his left lobe and shakes his head. And then, I try again, hoping for . . . Again, he pulls his left lobe and shakes  his head.


I’m fucked.


The librarian sits down and the splat of a whoopee cushion goes off.  I chuckle but she’s out of her chair and heading my way so I grab my bag and leave.


I walk out to the sound of a bicycle with a playing card hitting the spokes.


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