FathomOnline

 

 Fathom 1985

Cover

 

Inside Cover

 

Poetry

Pam Heaven (4)
Lex Gigeroff (2)
Joe Blades (3)
Andrew Little (2)
Babila Mutia
Lord Byron (3)
Ajay Heble
Margaret Heneghan
Robyn Gladwin (2)
Sean Bedell (2)
Marin Acker
Thorn Wells
Shandi Mitchell
Moritz Gaede
Lesley Wilson
Jane Everitt
C.M.M.
David E. Ayer

Prose

Ajay Heble
Lori MacLean

Commentary

Elizabeth Stephen

[PDF]

Ajay Heble

 

 

Threads

We found the jacket with the bullet holes the day we moved in. It immediately became the house jacket – meaning that everyone wanted to wear it. Ralph was the first to put it on and though it was a bit small for him he was the one who took official possession of it. Ralph’s stature was his one claim to neighbourhood fame. He was always going on diets, but they never lasted more than a day at most. Normally a quiet, sober and outspoken sort of guy, when Ralph donned the jacket he suddenly became a menace, a skyscraper, a kid with a problem. At first we thought it was a joke. He would saunter into our rooms, wearing the jacket, carrying a crowbar, and holding a conversation with himself in several different languages as if he were mad. When this started happening, we couldn’t help but wonder. Was it something in the jacket? When Ralph wasn’t wearing it, he was peaceful as ever, spending most of his free time at the chess table with the young Mozart.

Soon Ralph began to fly. We had to leave the windows open because he kept breaking glass. The young Mozart said maybe we should take the jacket away but Ralph spent all day flying hellbent for leather through the house like a ponderous bird so it was impossible for us to get the jacket from him. The Amazing The Incomparable thought we were on the threshold of discovering a phenomenon beyond the limits of human knowledge and he wanted in on it. Consequently, he became a house regular – meaning that he just wouldn’t leave. He would stay up long nights with the young Mozart, the two of them devising plans whereby they could get Ralph back on the ground and snatch the jacket.

One day when The Amazing The Incomparable was talking to us about a trick he knew with mirrors, Ralph planted both his feet on the ground and asked the young Mozart what day it was. All of us immediately went at him trying to yank off the star jacket. The News arrived soon, also wanting a piece of the dealings and demanding access to Ralph’s medical files.
Ralph remained calm through it all and so did the jacket. It seemed stuck on like glue. We just couldn’t get it off. Then The News came up with a plan. A human interest story. So Ralph and the jacket appeared on The Six o’clock. It was raining the day of Ralph’s television debut. He had prepared a poem called “Chalk Marks on the Pool Table of my Mind” but he was never allowed the chance to read it. Angry, he began to fly through the television studio with his crowbar. The windows were open because he kept breaking glass and the rain came inside.

At our home, I sat alone on a rainy night watching Ralph on the screen. The others had gone out drinking. To ease the tension. Calm the nerves. After Ralph’s televised havoc had come to an end, I went upstairs to read. All was quiet except for the pitter patter of the rain on the roof of our house and soon I began to fall into the Land of Nod. I dreamt about sunshine and sandcastles and summers on the beach with Anna sitting on a stone and skimming stones in the Atlantic. Then suddenly, awakened by an unexpected flash of lightning, I was confronted with Ralph. He towered over me as I lay in my bed, the crowbar in his hands and a ghastly expression on his face. He seemed even bigger than usual. And he was wet.

-Get out of bed, you shit, he roared, the crowbar inches away from my face. Or I’ll mash your head to hamburger. I remained calm and composed, raising myself out of bed only a little.

-I haven’t time for you now, Ralph. Go away. Ralph looked at me, riled, upset, frantic and fatigued – his eyes bible-black like the famed jacket. Without more words, he flew in a rage through my door down the hallway to his own room.

The next day the young Mozart woke us all early in the morning when the pitter patter of the rain on the roof of our house had ceased and he told us that Ralph was gone. He had left the jacket behind, however, and along with it he left his neglected poem “Chalk Marks on the Pool Table of my Mind.” We would never see Ralph again. Neither would we muster the courage to try – any of us – the jacket. It sits in Ralph’s old room, even now, under lock and key. Sometimes we think about donating it to a museum. We have long since lost the poem.

 

last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul