Fiction by Steve Gergley

Blu-Ray Box Set

I was browsing Amazon for some new bed sheets when I discovered a six-disc box set of Blu-rays chronicling the biggest bloopers and blunders from the first thirty years of my life. The product description boasted such highlights as, The Masturbation Mishap, Parts I & II,” The Bed Wetting Chronicles of 1995,” Ghosting: A Montage of Misery,” and, the perennial fan favorite, The Time Our Brave Hero Knocked Himself Unconscious During High School Gym Class While Trying to Impress the Girl He Was in Love With, Despite the Fact that She was Sleeping with Her History Teacher in Secret.”

The moment I read these derisive titles for the most humiliating events in my life, my chest swelled with rage and fury. So I called the customer help line and demanded more information about the Blu-rays: where they had come from, who had created them, if they were real, how the seller had obtained the footage.

Despite my anger and impatience, the operator remained infuriatingly calm.

I’m sorry, sir,” the man said, in a voice that reminded me of a dead log, but I cannot disclose that information at this time.”

Well then am I at least getting paid for this?” I said, my voice crackling with wrath. It’s my life after all, and your cronies are making a travesty of it!”

I’m sorry, sir,” the operator said, in the same soft-wood tone as before, but you are not entitled to any profits related to this product.”

Boris on the Radio

There is a rock and roll DJ named Boris who speaks on the radio every morning. He is an obnoxious and insufferable person. He talks about eating different colors and the problems in his garden, as if these things are funny. They are not. If he ever had the courage to join me at the Ha-Ha Club for Thursday night open mic, he would be greeted by complete silence and perhaps heckling from the angry crowd. This is because unlike myself, he is not a student of the art of comedy. But that is not surprising. He has never viewed me that way. To him I am nothing but a foolish and incompetent intern at the radio station. This is fine. For years I have been keeping a precise ledger of the grievous humiliations he has visited upon me, and those debts will soon come due.

Every Sunday night, I experience the same dream about Boris. In the dream I hand Boris a cup of black coffee laced with hemlock. But the source of the poison is a great mystery to my ridiculous coworkers at the radio station, the mediocre doctors at the hospital, and the incompetent police detectives assigned to investigate the case. Amid all this, I am above suspicion. Since I am nothing more than the overzealous and bumbling intern, I am the last person who could commit such a crime. That is what the police and my coworkers say. And Boris agrees. But he is incorrect. And it is in this error where my rapture blooms. At the hospital hours later, I inform Boris of his blunder in secret, while he lays on his deathbed and awaits his passage to the other side of the river. In that moment I wait until the rest of our family leaves the room. Then I lean into his ear, point at my chest, and say, Boris Jr. Is the one. Boris Jr. is the one who did it.”

Steve Gergley

Twitter: @GergleySteve

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