February 21, 2009

Dave Morrison


The parents had called him to
take a look at their twelve-year-old,
Mikey, because the school had said

that unless something was done he could
not ride the bus anymore. He’s asleep? asked
the Repairman. The father nodded, Yes, he

sleeps like a log. The Repairman gently removed
the top of the sleeping boy’s head and
attached the wires to the video screen. The

boy’s dream showed a spiral staircase going down
and down, and swarming up it like an army of
ants was a long ribbon of angry men wielding

hatchets, each chasing the man in front of them,
racing, unending, up the stairs. He’s obsessed
with revenge
, whispered the mother, and what
people think of him. He takes things he doesn’t

need and fights constantly. The Repairman nodded.
He had seen this problem a lot lately. He was glad that
they hadn’t waited until Mikey was older and

dangerous. He clicked on his
flashlight and the parents leaned in. OK, see that
blinking red diode? That’s the violence circuit.

Now, follow that red wire, to that screw
block…that’s the ego terminal. Now follow that
yellow wire…see? There?
The mother drew in a

breath. Two crossed wires glowed the angry red of
toaster elements. The father’s face was a question
mark. Fear and pride answered the Repairman,

they’re always too close, they get crossed all
the time. Now watch the screen
… He reached in
with a long pair of pliers and the screen

flickered, and then they watched as the swarm of
men rushed to the top of the stairs, to a parapet
of sorts, and in a steady stream each man leapt

from the tower dropping his axe and spreading his
arms. They floated like hawks towards the
river valley below.

from Rattle 29, Summer 2008