by Charles Rafferty
Tell me again. What are your demands?
A plane to Buenos Aires. A woman for every night I have left. Enough dynamite to blow a hole in the bottom of the sea that sloshes between us all.
You said earlier you wanted to be an inspiration. Can you tell us something inspirational?
Years ago, after the creek flooded and left large puddles all over the soccer field, I saw minnows shimmering there on what had been the grass. No matter how small the puddles became over the coming days, the fish kept looking for a way back to the creek, just 20 feet away.
Did you bring them back to the creek?
I started to, but then I remembered that the creek has reasons to leave its bed. The spurned woman does not return for her toothbrush. She lets the underwear in his hamper become a fond remembrance.
How is this going to end?
With a bang and a with whimper. With a reason to take a shower. It will be as though the loudest band in the world played a single note, unrehearsed.
Before you left for the bank this morning, did you turn off the stereo in your apartment? Did you leave the door unlocked?
No and yes. I wanted there to be a soundtrack playing when they came to search my apartment, and I didn’t want them to hurt themselves when breaking down my door.
But you said that your dog is rigged with plastic explosives.
Yes, he is very friendly. They will reach to pet him. They will set off the device.
Why don’t you let the children go?
Because they will amplify my message. Because they remind me of minnows.
Is there a way to make you reconsider? To turn back the clock to this morning, before you’d even thought of coming into this bank?
The bank has spent a lifetime moving into my path. Go ask the architect and zoning board why they taunted me like this.
Do you have any last words?
Last words are for those who believe they will not speak again. But already your machines have made me immortal.
What is this yellow button for?
When I press it, an ultrasonic frequency is emitted that attracts moths to this metal plate. When enough of them land, the bomb will explode.
That sounds like something out of a movie about a madman whose genius is for complicated death.
Thank you. I pressed it hours ago. There don’t seem to be many moths inside this bank. Luckily I had this other button. It attracts television crews.
Can’t you be reasonable?
I’d rather be inspirational. I am a fist full of hidden confetti. I do only what your cameras desire.
Charles Rafferty‘s poetry recently appeared in The New Yorker and The Southern Review, and his fiction was featured in Sonora Review and The Cortland Review. His most recent chapbook of poems is Appetites (Clemson University Press). He received an NEA fellowship in 2009. Rafferty currently directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.