by Edward Lacie
"And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded."
-- Ernest Hemingway, "The Age Demanded"
* * *
"It would start with a drink and get worse from there," reported Henry Franks, 38, of Hills- boro, Michigan, after being charged with disorderly conduct early Sunday morning. Dreamland Cafe is a franchise and I work at the one in Rural Bluffs, Iowa. I cook and manage the night shift but every once in a while I also wait on tables. Reports of satanism increase toward October and are especially high around Halloween. A half a sandwich and either soup or salad is available as a combination. The sheriff was not a friend but can be remembered like a vivid dream. Franks was hospitalized with a broken nose and fingers and is expected to be released within 24 hours, a hospital spokesperson said on condition of anonymity. At the Dreamland, we know more than that pie is almost all profit, soft drinks too. And pie is cut in seven pieces but looks like six. A bowl of soup holds as much as a cup of soup. Investigation into the Son of Sam case has led to occult activities and drug traffic between here and New York City being investigated. A local murder may have been a rehearsal. The waitresses dressed like clowns and I was a toothless vampire, pale, so pale I needed makeup. We had no customers until nearly midnight. We got so busy we had to stay open an hour longer than usual, the only time that happened. Franks, an employee of Dreamland in Hillsboro, MI, abuses dogs, the sheriff told me, as if to say he was a Satanist. I musta been stabbed in the heart with a stake. Another rehearsal? Rural Bluffs, Iowa, is south of Hawkeye and around the bend from Music Man's River City. We have parades with seventy-six trom- bones. I passed a note under the toast he ordered to the sheriff at the stroke of midnight on Halloween lucky to be wearing white makeup to hide the pale ghost I was thinking I was in the crosshairs of a Satanist cult. Weather report is for snow all over Iowa except in Rural Bluffs, I swear. "How many drinks I had is hard to tell," Franks offered in defense at the trial held November 29, in the county courthouse. "Under the influence." Whoever orders the soup and salad is saying they want me to live, soup and sandwich means die. Those who pay cash are Christians. Plastic indicates Satan. Poached eggs mean danger. Henry Franks ordered pie. Backstage, he joked, "Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?" Satan himself paraded a ghost of a former customer, drug hollow, past. "You're next," his eyes twinkled as the sheriff and five deputies walked in at a quarter to midnight.* * *
Notes: This poem includes "samples" from gossip heard around the employee table here at Dreamland. -ewl