Story: A Round Of

By: Michael Simon

round of applause

There is a sound not unlike thunder echoing outside. No, more frequent than thunder. Lighting is not present with its partner today, so there’s no way to pinpoint the location of the crater it will cause; one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. The post-boom rumble sticks longer, plays into the next burst as if handing off the baton of sonic relevance. Each tremor a prolonged heartbeat slowly dying, picked up again, and shifting the small figures of my desk into a sideways dance without music. Popping sounds like firecrackers break the intermediate void and play to an avant-garde rhythm, a call and respond sequence with heavy bass undertones guiding the discussion. Voices can be heard, loud and determined, in the streets and in the hallway. Their pitch is too high and too forced for me to recognize the words, but I know, instinctively by the fervor of the cadences, it regards the thunder.

Also playing to the air is a musical number on the TV behind me, glittering dances of shimmering bodies as electronic projections flash epileptically behind them. A well-dressed man receives a toy and explains to the thrilled audience the seriousness of what he does. While grand applause deafens the TV speakers, deafening echoes of perilous rage continue around me. An older well-dressed gentleman has taken the stage to a standing ovation and the cacophony outside signals approval. A montage of a life’s labor plays to the enthusiastic audience and he gives a slow speech afterwards. The thunder grows louder and I wonder if they can hear it, those applauding for jobs well done, and congratulations for play. And I wonder if the others watching along can hear it as well.

Categories: Fiction

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