Short Story for the NSA

Short Story for the NSA
Jeff Thomson

All eyes are upon you now
and everyone is listening—can’t
you hear that clicking on the line?

That’s the lonely detective
with his bag of chips. You know him
from a thousand film clips. He’s waiting

for you to say something interesting,
waiting for you to say bomb
and not mean the club you hit

the night before where the lights
spun and zipped like carbonation
and the music was a second heart

in your chest and the girl with
the glitter and eyes like an Egyptian
touched your lips with her wrist

and misted away into the crowd
But when you say it that way
you’ve dated yourself and the story’s

not so fresh anymore, and
the detective has finished his chips
and he feels the lack of bourbon

precisely (he’s cursing you now)
and he desperately wants you
to hang up or incriminate yourself.

So say something for him, bring him
into the lonely acre of your life, tell him
a story, how once long ago you set

that garage on fire with an aerosol can
and a bic, how the sudden union of
the flame and the curtains made you weep

until the fire brigade arrived, too late, and —
as the effervescence of their lights
flung itself into the faces of the dark

summer maples—stood around speculating.

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