How To Profit As Copper Becomes The New Gold

by Mark Reep

We have no more leaders, only rulers who live in another country.  I don't ask why my cousin's hand is bandaged, what he's been burning, what's tarped in his truck.  I say I don't watch the news but last night I dreamt I was Jesus Christ, and you know the worst part?  My cousin stares at me.  He shakes his head.  I say you ever think about the pressure?  Mess up once, and then what?  Start over?  My cousin laughs.  His teeth are awful.  I wouldna lasted long, he says.  Got any coffee?


I cut up little squares of baloney, fry him a soft omelet he won't eat.  He wants to use my phone.  I say they shut it off.  I know he doesn't believe me but he doesn't push it.


At the door he says better not, he needs a shower.  I hug him anyway.  He's heat and bones and stink but still tall enough to rest his chin on my head.  He says nothing.  I nod against his chest.  When he pulls away his sleeve catches the latch.  I say wait wait and he stops and smiles the way he does now, so you can't see his teeth, and lets me free him. 


Our needs are a far smoke rising.  It's eight o'clock, the scrapyards will be open.  I wonder what they're paying for copper.  I'm late for work but I scrape his plate.  I don't want to come home to these dirty dishes.