Monday, July 26, 2021

Tom Barlow


As a child the teeter-totter taught me
that people are not to be trusted / and I
still count my change / I still lock my car /
I double-check the meter reading

when my electric bill arrives / and
the mileage on my wife's odometer /
there was a day on a riverboat in the
Amazon basin when I'm pretty sure a

Dutchman at the poker table slid one of
my chips away while I turned my head
to sneeze and it ruined our vacation /
the contractor we hired to build our house

used some mismatched brick but convinced
the duplicitous court the result was beautiful /
and my wife swears she never told the guy who
organizes our golf league about my problem

in the bedroom but he's taken to looking at me
with a faint smile / God knows I never planned
to set him right but there are some things a man
should not be expected to tolerate / so it's not

really my fault he allowed himself to be lifted
into the air on the big kid's teeter-totter when I
decided to slip off / and let that be a lesson to him /
if he survives.

Tom's YouTube video reading of "Teeter-totter":

Subscribe and turn on Notifications for Channel 52.

Tom confesses: "The Tetter-totter has been in the back of my mind since I was a young boy on a playground that was grade-school hell. I've never forgiven my classmates for the torments that were meted out on the monkey bars, the swing sets and, most wickedly, the see-saw, where innocents like me could be abandoned in mid-air. This here is payback, you bastards."

TOM BARLOW is an Ohio writer. Other works of his may be found in anthologies including Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and periodicals including Pulp Modern, Heater, Plots With Guns, Mystery Weekly, Needle, Thuglit, Mystery Tribune, Switchblade, and Tough. His noir crime short story collection Odds of Survival is available on Amazon.

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