Meter Indicates There Is No Time Left

"Parry Sound Parking Authority has assigned your unpaid  Provincial Offences fine(s) to our company for immediate collection.”

Inside the house this enforcer
from the collection agency informs me
he’s not here to waste any more of his life, picks
his teeth with the bamboo
splinter he threatens to stick through
my liver to avoid further collection activity
if I don’t fork over; I tell him I have nothing
unless a beer can collection is considered
worldly goods. I’ve been through this
before, the door kicked in, the dog
left for dead in the driveway, the stereo playing
“This is The End”,  stuck in the same spot
where I dropped acid on it in 1974.  My daughter
who was named after a hurricane in the Minor
Antilles where I believe she was conceived
says buddy better leave before she gets her wind
up and does some major damage. She eats
these all-dressed  chips then goes
through a major personality change.
It’s why we have kids, something has to
slow us down when we get too burned out
to shoot speed. These days I’m running
around with a chicken like my head cut off
trying to get on with my childhood,or at least
over it. At late Dad’s funeral my aggrieved mother
climbed onto the church roof and started shouting
Your Father Who Art in Hell and though I thought
she was asserting herself finally it wasn’t
the right moment. Later, stuck in a ditch
crying for my loss, a van pulled over and a woman
with  two black eyes and a few teeth too many
missing asked  was she on the right road
to Stormin Norman’s Paintball Adventures?
Isn’t this the way life always goes? Life goes
on,  I mean, you wish it would stop, if only
for a moment, so you could  pause to apply
another layer of CoverGirl hydrating concealer
over the deep penetrating wrinkle corrector
to soften the permanent lines of sorrow.  One breath
mint at a time, I tell myself, as if anyone
on this lonely planet will be here to kiss me
goodbye or perform mouth to mouth on me
when I decide to give up  breathing forever.
Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it
and whispers, grow, grow  I say to this bad attitude
who has come all the way from Ontario to collect
for a parking ticket I couldn’t take seriously
enough  to pay. What do you do on your days
off, I say, lure families into bushes on ski slopes
and kill them?

How does he expect me to behave when some hired power
sticks a warning under my broken windshield wiper:
“Meter Indicates there is no time left?” I seriously stopped
buying green bananas for the rest of that week.
Now I’m busted, can’t even afford the dog
a decent burial, stop with the condolences to Rover, 
he hasn’t rolled over since last week when the posse
comitatus broke in to repossess the furniture. Who needs

a front door anyway when there’s no way out?
Who needs a love seat with a broken arm, or a bed
with no give? When I picture my body
these days, it’s going for broke in a hot-wired hearse,
all these secondary veins  and main arteries like
interconnecting highways full of unhappy accidents
waiting to happen. That’s luck. I’m at this mall
watching the lifesize clock go tick tock tick
waiting for Hurricane Virginie to blow a hole
in my GST rebate, casing the joint wondering how
desperate a person would have to be to steal a faux
crystal lighted pineapple table centrepiece
from the display window of the Lite Up Your Life
Interior Design store when this masked gunman
waving a To-Do list in my face
says to me, “Dude, look at the faux pineapple,
dude, look look look. It’s expensive, dude, it’s very
fucking very expensive”; what’s the underworld coming to
where fake isn’t even fake anymore, it’s faux ?
If he plans on taking down the Lite Up Your Life store
I tell him, they don’t take hold-up notes anymore unless
they’ve been notorized. The dog, the one you drove

over, his name’s not Rover, we called him Zero
because, as my daughter goes, what’s in a name?
Assets? Dude. Usual occupation? Put down
Hair Magnet inventor, patent pending.  Put down
Girdles Toilet Seats with Sanitary Strips
on volunteer basis. Don’t write self-employed
grave-digger or how long it took me to dig self’s
grave with used toothpick, don’t put snow underfoot
goes crunch crunch crunch when I run around
with a chicken like my head cut off - you heard me
right the first time - just do what they pay you to do,
then the slate’s wiped clean. Right now my blood tastes
sweeter than it’s ever been - and there’s lots of it -
like money you’ve never seen.

Susan Musgrave didn't even have a chance to check things over first.

Published On: July 1, 2008
Permanent Location:





Volume 4, Issue 12
July 1, 2008

Canada Day, 2008

I Was Happy Once
by Susan Musgrave

Meter Indicates There Is No Time Left
by Susan Musgrave

#27 Broadway

by Jessica Antonio

the hotest summer in recorded history
by Elizabeth Bachinsky

by Craig Battle

Jacoby's Hole in the wall restaurant
by Kimmy Beach

unsent letter #31
by Sheri Benning

If I Were Your Dog
by Lorna Crozier

Where the Customary’s Always Right
by Jesse Ferguson

bleeding hearts
by Tracy Hamon

A Moth Story
by Gerald Hill

the only way to live
by Jeanette Lynes

by Dave Margoshes

by rob mclennan

dear emily
by Jay Okada

the exchange
by Brenda Schmidt

because it is green
by Darren Stewart

Fly on the Window
by Jennifer Still

Speaking, Over Her Left Shoulder And Toward His Reflection In The Mirror
by Nick Thran

Beautif: Orpheus after Eurydice
by Daniel Tysdal

love song:
thou alone

by Zachariah Wells

Feb 12, 2001 - Present

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6


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