Little Jackson’s Batha-Ventra

Little Jackson’s Batha-Ventra

Short Fiction

Jim Meirose




Cassie Bash told me that on vacation she and hers were in the town square, out Bath England, we think, milling the small square outside the roman show.

Eh okay, but we’re just about there. Hold it, slow down—I got to watch the numbers.

Okay but anyhow—she said there were four or five artificial romans standing stock-still enticing bored tourists to snap their pictures with them all together, but. The only sensible kind to take were stock-still single pictures like the kind that end up backdrawered in too hot upper unused mothballed bedrooms showing such as brothers in law or similars tight into the leftside, and stepsisters or similars tight into the rightside, the robed rump centered exactly between. And the vast majority of these kinds of pictures taken of b-list relative hangers-on end up face down for the length of each family’s allotted forever, after which their discovery will be termed gee-whiz, Mom—he Mom and her Mom get in here come here. See, movies don’t get of taken still of life this breed movies would be wasteful since nothing’s moving, but at least—Marge can say how very funny this was—Jackson the Jelly—yah that one yes that one the one the bullies called Jackson Big Jelly—until he raged the biggest down on her face with a good right hook but that’s one more long story told already so gee did you miss out mistah’ man—

Hey, come on, slower. It’s dark and hard to see—tell me later eh huh?

—wait, just this—that one swears to God now, swears to God then, swears to God never even but it’s assumed everyone’s of age has. Hah funny suck he never thought he had no guts at all stuck down inside all tight hot but, hoot—in Bath England, he was just about old enough to toddle here there fairly unsteadily but the five percent well-directed and focused childlike mischief-steam he had at his disposal proved enough for a fine job of pestering anything or thing’s body too. The biggest white robed artificial roman stuck out all unusual was homeless and hungry and ripe for Big Jelly. The wide silver dish at its feet lay littered loosely with multicolored coins of various sizes and more this time too, because it was near Friday and the American tourists in the last day of their vacations saw the silver pans at the feet of these unfortunates as—

Okay—okay. Maybe four or five house down—slow, slower.

—okay okay but listen—providing cheap opportunity to discard toward good causes the various shapes sizes and colors of days away from worthlessness alien changecoin annoyingly lumping their hip pockets so uncomfortably, in some way other than the standard old last-minute action of strewing it ‘cross their hotel room dressers. This way is better. It scratches a boil. Rubs it down raw. Makes it seem something our Savior might of suggested—that being the first of  countless other irrelevant rambly-muses pointing in pointing out the plus side of such giving—the bottom most being that this way had the benefit of being done so quick and neat that not even a course of mildly tart oral OTC antibiotics need be given for any or all proving wise enough to not fall for this or that trick or gas pack or ginny rump of any never before thought of way to—

Hey, crap—we must have missed it—say, up there—turn ‘round up there—

—wait ok, ok, I will, don’t sweat it—but what was trying to knot itself into meaning back in my face was—it was stock pennies in heaven just cut it loose for some faceless day-bedmaids’ tip. So, having disposed of that slim slice of their lastday, wide young Jackson ah Jelly ran to the fake romans bowl, gripped up a handful of its hard earned coin, and ran off away down the upsloping backpath cut out from the square toward an accompanying ancient big spooky world-famous photogenic spook-cemetery and—Marge nearly puked saying how the white fudge-faced flowy gowned artificial roman made off o’ his inverted old hub-platter of a fake silvery sprayed half crushed fat pedestal and here’s how exact-what she said—

Come on, you could have turned around already—come on. We can’t be late.

—wait shut your face back we are rollin’ choking back wave over wave of deep-giggly-puke, she went, I couldn’t take it no, there they went. Little Jackson said later he leapt into a tomb flush with black mold and some deeply puddled green of a stink, but—for nearly fifteen or forty minutes we can’t know now it’s been a while maybe but—that ghostly roman flow-fled one way through the lopsided headstones, then the other way back then up down and around faster so fast as to blur over aglow, in what became the most beautifully moody deep deepening fast twilight you know, that was so, so terrifyingly off that how little Jackson Big Jelly escaped it all intact, we can’t possibly know—

Hurry up. Turn. Turn now.

—okay but get this wait when asked about the money, Jackson didn’t know, and now that he’s a nearly grown shade of the boy he once was, we laugh. Yas yes, we laugh. And now he is a man. How’s about that. A man you’d never guess. Just look at my fine big boy. Hey eh just look. So that was a funny thing a funny story and I had or at least I sense I did have an answer for that again I don’t think I get the no like no this that’s it part—yah there it is—I mean I meant to politely say the answer because it’d smacked me back charged up positive like I should-o-been but, all I could see were some four wrong words hung fading fast in the air, to boot.

Okay. Here, here’s the house. Pull over, but—shit! The car’s gone. We missed them. Damn we missed them! Because you wouldn’t shut up and pay attention!

No not so. Wrong.

How wrong?

It’s all because of little Jackson. Damned little Jackson. I know it and—


—you do too know it too.




Jim Meirose’s short work has appeared in numerous venues. He has published several novels as well, including the upcoming “Understanding Franklin Thompson” (JEF pubs), and “Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer” (Optional Books). Info:

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