Daniel and the Roll Daughter, A Poem by Chris Russell

I was walking to the pharmacist to pick up my vitamins when a friend of mine from work saw me on the crosswalk and rolled down her window. “How are you today?” I said. She motioned for me to get across the road with her hand, so she could get through, and then pulled into a parking place just around the corner. “It’s me, Daniel,” I said. “How’s your weekend?” “When your Daddy tells you to get off the driveway, and he’s in a car, that’s what you do, unless you feel like getting run over,” she said. She was in a mood. “Bad day?” I said. If you want to know what I think she wasn’t so much trying to get somewhere so much as she was in a hurry to understand who she really was, which we all know, is impossible. Maybe she was unaware of the fact that she wanted to make a change in her life, and running over the old her with the grump seemed like something she could make happen. Either way, I wasn’t going to let her version of hope and meaning run me over, whether it was rational or irrational. I could smell alcohol. “Have you been drinking?” I said. “You no good daughter. Get your butt back inside and wait for me to come in there and have a whack at it!” she said. I pictured her sitting in her recliner at home and pulling off a tumbler of cheap whiskey. She twittered sideways into the bakery like someone with his ankles tied, trying to keep himself from falling. “You better have made some good rolls,” she said. I followed behind her. Maybe I could use her delusion to free her from it. “I’m sorry Dad. I just want to be as good as you are,” I said. “Daniel, who are you talking to?” She said. It had worked. “It’s just been a long day, and I think my unconscious got the better of me there,” I said. “That happens to me all the time,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll be just getting out of work, and then suddenly I’m home, and I won’t even remember how I got there. It happens to the best of us,” she said. “Have you tried the rolls here? They’re just delightful.” That’s when something sinister came over me. I thought maybe I could hone her unconscious to my bidding. I would need to get inside it just a little bit. “I hear they are very soft and angelic and have this way of getting under your skin where they can beat the stupid right out of your face,” I said. “They better be soft, girlie, or you’re going to get it,” she said. The other customers were starting to get suspicious. Regardless, we were in the saddle. But this would also be my undoing.

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