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Because Monk Believes He’s Impervious to Harm

funny short story: Because Monk Believes He’s Impervious to Harm


“I don’t expect you to believe it sight-unseen,” Monk says.

They’re in a car.

Monk is driving.

Joe is drunk. “This started with a lawn tractor, is what you’re saying?”

Monk shakes his head. “I know you can’t kill yourself wrecking a lawn tractor. I know that. What I’m saying is, the lawn tractor’s important because it came first. Because things gotta start somewhere.”

“It came before the car accident with the deer?”

“Waaay before. Years.”

“And that one was potentially fatal?”

The car seems to shudder a little rounding the bend. Trees wall off their view of what’s essentially a sheer drop into fertile river-bottom farmland.

“In that most of the car’s friggin’ hood was smashed to shit,” Monk says, noting as he turns the wheel a shiver just behind his knees. “And the deer was a twelve-point and its rack came damn-near close to shattering the windshield. So yeah, I’d say really potentially friggin’ fatal.”

“Then there was the minivan you rear-ended?”

“Wasn’t so much as a ding on my car after.”

“Your grandfather’s car?”

Monk blows between pursed lips in exasperation. “Are you with me, here, Joe, man?”

Joe has both hands on his knees. He’s buckled his seat belt. His fingertips are going like tiny little hammers on his jeans.

“Anyway,” Monk says. “What’s about that one is the lady, this big woman, with some boy I assumed to be like her no-account son or whatever—kid looked old enough to be like, you know—she was like, ‘Forget it,’ and just drove away.”

The rain that has been falling all evening ceases to fall just as Monk finishes quoting the lady in a mocking, nasally tone.

Joe cracks his window then rolls it back up. “And the one on the interstate.”

“For whatever reason this car jammed on the brakes and like stalled flat out and died right there in the friggin’ fast lane.”

“But you didn’t hit the car.”

“I hit the truck that hit the car, man. C’mon.”

“And the guy was eating.”

Monk laughs. “Had a sandwich he just like dropped on the ground. Frantic as all hell, like he couldn’t believe he was just standing there able to still like even hold a sandwich.”

“And you really told this guy that because you were involved, there was no fricking way he was ever at risk of, like, going through the windshield, or getting his legs shorn off by some engine part coming through the cab?”

“Straight to dude’s face.”

The shiver behind Monk’s knees suddenly rises through his gut and starts rattling at the base of his skull.

There’s the sensation the car is starting to shimmy. Then, just as Joe is about to say he isn’t sure he needs to experience Monk’s ability—he would just take Monk’s word for it, true or not, no problem—they’re among the trees, surrounded by the rip, pummel, and tear of the crash.

Patrick M. Faller teaches writing at Kent State Tuscarawas. His stories and essays appear or are forthcoming in Prick of the Spindle, Inwood Indiana, and Souvenir. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFaller >>

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