Claudine wakes up panting, broken, not sure how to reattach the displaced bones. At first, she only had 206, like most of us, but it quickly became clear that the patrons in Row I needed more assistance than she could provide with just the factory warehouse number.
“I’ll get right on that,” she said in response to their request for extra seat cushions, not too cold ice water, and a 15-page color Sciatica brochure.
They looked so common in their khaki pants and pullover shirts. Who would have predicted they would be so Sunday matinee penny candy diva asking for such odd extras but refusing to pay concession stand prices? And then, of course, no tip.
In her mind then, she was reading a Ray Bradbury novel about Martians and gathering mint leaves by the backyard pond before the overzealous local mowers, who had also sliced a hole in the underground hose with their blades, plowed through the precious plants like they were run of the mill, even though it should have been clear that leaves are not weeds and hose line is not grass.
At least 20 of the original bones hurt. The new ones she felt less kinship with, since they were only temporary, transitory, hers for now on interlibrary bone loan, and if she didn’t return them to the bone depository promptly by 8 pm Wednesday (the seemed an easy enough time to remember, still she set a Google calendar notification) her credit card would be charged $24.99 per bone. At 32 bones, the number was staggering. And, if she didn’t get the bones back on time, her needing it to get through the day caramel latte would be a thing of history, like the artifacts found at the Lost Colony.
How do you lose over 100 English settlers? How do you make what you can’t keep feel like it should remain there for now, part of the school field trip tour group when it’s really only that kid from the homeschooling co-op with the unruly hair and cracking lips, the one your mothers told you to include but you really never did because you knew then that even the spectacular visitors you can’t keep, can’t file and categorize the here for the day gone tomorrow along with the rest of the elementary aged kids? No matter how much you close your eyes and wish for thunder, the gods’ failures aren’t yours. You only have so many bones to break.
Lori D’Angelo’s work has appeared in various literary journals including Blood Moon Magazine, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Hawaii Pacific Review, JAKE, Literary Mama, Reed Magazine, Suburban Witchcraft, and Word Riot. She is a fellow at Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, a grant recipient from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and an alumna of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. You can find her on Twitter @sclly21.