haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2005, vol 1 no 2

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Francis Alexander

Shocks

I took the amusement park job to keep from being homeless. The corporation let its workers stay in one of the dorms for less than fifteen dollars a week which suited me fine. When I first came to the men's dorms, it didn't trouble me that women walked the halls as frequently as ghosts in a haunted motel. What struck me was the men's restroom. It had no locks, especially the one next to mine. Nor was there a sign that said "men's" or "ladies'." I wanted to avoid the embarrassment of walking into what could actually be the ladies room so I investigated each piece of the bathroom entrance like Columbo and found nothing but a sign that said, "No cameras allowed."

Then it happened one morning. Brushing my teeth at the bathroom sink I blinked and squinted my eyes to make sure I was seeing correctly. A young Polish female had entered and proceeded to do her business at the sink next to me.

It took days for the shock to wear off. By that time I had searched for and found a slightly larger bathroom several doors down. I was determined not to be surprised in a different way. I surmised that the bathroom next to me had been the ladies' room so I'd use this newly discovered one. I was wrong in my assumptions. A week or so later as I'd finished doing my business a Russian female entered. "Sorry," she said as her Rs formed into Ls and walked to the sink to prepare herself for work. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Midwestern summer --
beneath tornado clouds
a siren wails

The roar of the waves greet my ears as I open the door and step into the hall. A cool September breeze makes its morning jog down the awakening hallway. Several doors down an occupant is sitting outside his door, talking on the phone. I still feel odd not hearing the crinkle and clank of the roller coaster although the park won't open for another hour. With a twist to the right I lock the door and step to the restroom next to me. Who knows what surprises await.

I push the tavern-like door and the open window with small dead insects littering its sill greets me. I wash my hands, dry them, and turn to leave when I look up. I wonder how I missed the monstrosity upon entering. It's as if I've just been placed as a character in a grade B horror flick. I've never seen one that big.

perched upside down
on the bathroom's ceiling
a dragonfly

 

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