The Shine Journal

Exceptional Flash, Poetry, Art and Photography!

Cousin Harold

 

by

 

Wayne Scheer

 

 

 

 

I see the Village Voice finally gave you your fifteen minutes, Mr. G.

At least, that's what the Voice called you--

The family, of course, knows you as Cousin Harold.

 

You'd been showing porn at the Polk Theatre in Jackson Heights since 1959,

"Nine dirty films a day," you say proudly.

That's some accomplishment, Cousin Harold.

 

The article said the Polk was only one of three porno theatres left in the city.

And now you've sold the Polk.

It's expected to become an apartment building--

Just what New York City needs, another apartment building.

 

"I shouldn't have sold it," you say now.  "I have nothing to do."

 

It's not like you had a choice, down to twelve customers a day,

Including the man with one glove.

 

Still, you loved the Polk, despite it smelling like piss and rotted carpet.

"All it needs is a paint job," you told the reporter.  "Look at it, it's so nice."

You wanted to save it, but like your bowler hat, black overcoat and ever-present handkerchief,

It had become an embarrassment. Especially to the family.

 

Your daughter moved far from New York, claiming only that you were in real estate.

Your most loyal employee, Sandra the ticket-taker, attended church every morning,

Begging forgiveness for the sin of selling tickets at a dirty movie theatre.

 

How will she feed her sixteen cats, you worry.

 

Now you call your children and grandchildren

And you tell stories about the old days, how you had to dress like you were connected.

You tell them about the article in the Voice.  You're famous, you say.

 

The Polk is gone, and you, at seventy-five, sleep most of the day-- 

Because you have no place to wear your bowler hat.

 


 

BIO:After teaching writing and literature in college for twenty-five years, Wayne Scheer retired to follow his own advice and write.  He's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. His work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Pedestal, flashquake,  T-Zero, Flash Me Magazine, Whim's Place, The Potomac Stone Table Review, The Shine Journal and Apple Valley Review. He lives in Atlanta with his wife. 

 

MOTIVATION: Harold is my wife's cousin, a legend in her family.  When I read his story in the Village Voice, I thought he deserved a poem.

 

 


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