The Beards and Chair Legs are Not in the Frame


Terrorists came at night and removed the legs from all my chairs. They were wild men in huge beards who wore terror jackets with white pants.

A few were women in similar outfits.

They kept me still with their eyes and unscrewed my chairs’ legs carefully.

They whispered things into my head and took me with them wrapped in a blue plastic bag. Then they scanned my body and had a Real Doll built to my exact dimensions.

It had my gut paunch and gaunt face, the sadness and the fright in my eyes.

I cried at first. You can make out the tear stains on my cheek if you use the magnifier.

Then some terrorists stripped me down and began to shout confusing things. Others sprayed me with an oil hose. They were wearing their white jackets with TERROR printed clearly on the backs.  I was nude and thrown dripping up against the me-doll.

Terrorists never laugh. I promise you that. They brandish the legs of your chairs at you. They wear gloves to leave no fingerprints.

Terrorists say We can do anything we want and we are crazy!  Why would we disfigure your furniture? Why would anyone make a doll of you? We don’t even need a reason!

And when they finished talking they widened their eyes and tossed my chair legs with abandon, like truly they could do anything.

You can see the horror on my face. There’s no pleasure in those photos. They wore terror jackets at me, I swear it. I could wear nothing. They snapped away and I was just a fleshy lump clinging desperately to its identical lump while above me waved a forest of tangled beards and the amputated legs of my once so comfortable chairs.



Photo By: Nick Olejniczak

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About Author

Ben Segal is the author of 78 Stories (No Record Press) and co-editor of the anthology The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature (Lit Pub Books). He is also the co-author, with Feliz Lucia Molina and Brett Zehner, of the forthcoming epistolary novel The Wes Letters (Outpost19). His short fiction has been published by or is forthcoming from Tin House, Tarpaulin Sky, Gigantic, and Puerto del Sol, among others. He currently lives in California.

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