Sample Reading 2

This sample of “Trump Card” was my reading selection at First Mondays Open Mic, held at the Troubadour Wine Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 17th, 2017.

Our conversation was interrupted by a loud voice. “There she is! Deploy the meme!”

The scene that followed was surreal. Five figures dressed in ugly green robes emerged from the woods that lined one side of the path. They were men in their early twenties, and a chill ran through me as I recognized one as the Nazi who had attacked me a week ago. His nose was still bandaged.

Another of the men spoke. “Sophia Sanders, we are the Sons of Kek. We are here to consign you to the outer darkness, and avenge our wounded brother!”

“Hey, we don’t want any trouble,” said Tim in a calm voice. “Just tell us what you want.”

“We are here to consign Sophia Sanders to the outer darkness, and avenge our wounded brother!” the man repeated. “Bind her foul sorcery!”

One of the men pulled a poster from inside his robe and unfurled it. The sign bore a large image of Pepe, the cartoon frog, and a design that looked like a cross between a corporate logo and a kindergarten squiggle.

“Wait,” I countered. “You guys worship a cartoon frog, and I’m the one with ‘foul sorcery’?”

“Keep the meme on her!” commanded the leader, ignoring me. The man with the poster continued to present it boldly.

“Is this like a role-playing thing?” asked Tim, not sure what to make of it all.

“I have no quarrel with either of you,” said the leader, addressing Alan and Tim. “Leave now, or share her dire fate!”

“Is this a joke?” demanded Alan. The leader simply glared. “I’m serious,” Alan repeated. “Is this a joke?”

“Very well. If you choose to remain, you choose to share her fate. See how funny you find this. Get her!”

Apparently, that was their whole plan. The man with the sign kept it trained on me, while the other four rushed forwards, fists swinging. The tingling of the pendant bordered on painful.

I stepped to the side as the first man reached me. He tripped over his long robe as he advanced, falling flat on his face. The second man tripped over him, piling on top of the first one, on the hard concrete walkway.

Alan and Tim had both assumed what looked like karate stances the moment the men stepped forward. But I gestured for them to hold back, trusting the pendant to do its work. They needed to see it for themselves. The two other men, one of them the original Nazi I had punched, managed to step to either side of their two tangled brethren. One attacked from the left and the other from the right, and I felt an irresistible urge to duck.

Both fists passed just over my head, each connecting with the face of the man opposite. They both fell back, stunned, and landed in the grass to either side of the trail. All four attackers now lay on the ground, moaning. Meanwhile, the man with the meme folded up his Pepe the Frog poster and ran for it. Kek had lost the day.

Tim and Alan had not even needed to move to defend me. “I told you,” I said with a shrug. “Lucky.”

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