The Committee

by Jay Marvin

If you'll have a seat please the dentist motions to Eddy Dukane to sit in a chrome swiveling chair shaped like an S curve to fit the human body the dentist is dressed in a white smock that blasts out against his thick black hair Eddy watches his hairy knuckles go to work hooking up the gas mask and adjusting the flow leaning back Eddy hears a soft hiss as if he were being warned by docile snake and feels the gas start to take over giving him a pleasant buzz in a few minuets the dentist starts his work by propping open Eddy's mouth and covering him with a cloth bib consulting his plans the contractor puts his yellow pitted hard hat on and signals the crane operator who swings what looks like a giant steel swan's neck around to pick up two steel beams that remind the contractor of huge carrot sticks in the morning sun pulling down a silver drill device hooked to a thin hose of compressed air the dentist starts to drill the smell of burning enamel and the feel of spraying water drifts up to Eddy's nose in whiffs and drops the drill makes a high pitched whirling sound and Eddy tries not to move the surface of his molar grows hotter with the grinding ten stories up one of the steel beams is put into place bright sparks of blue and white bonding one beam to another with heat and electricity from a welder's arc the welder's back is bent and he rests his weight on one knee and wears a thin metal mask with a dark blue window cut in front that makes him appear like he's from another planet a small group of seven men and seven women called the Committee for Combat gather on a third floor walk up and sit listening to a young man with long hair and an army jacket green with frayed cuffs start to speak he stands underneath revolutionary banners and slogans crudely painted on billowy white bed sheets and strips of cloth nailed to the wall behind him today we're going to engage in critical analysis of our next planed action and move around this room using the skills we have acquired in criticism self-criticism the first to speak is a young woman short hair plain no make up an angelic face and full lips picking up a shiny thin hooked object resembling a gaff the doctor picks at bits of decayed enamel around Eddy's molar pressing so hard he jerks Eddy's head sideways it reminds Eddy of an silent film he had once saw where the dentist has so much trouble trying to pull a patient's tooth he climbs on his lap with a pair of pliers four beams in place the crane withdraws and the wielding continues iron workers crawl over the building like large ants wearing yellow helmets but unlike ants they are building instead of dismembering a dead grass hopper laying on its back or a crum of cookie hardened by the sun amongst the fourteen cell members an argument breaks out charges of counter revolutionary and informer are tossed around the room in a loud matter of fact manner the young man standing and conducting the meeting tries to regain order remember the principles of democratic centralism no one pays attention the whole incident ending up a case of two comrades competing for the attention of the plain faced angelic girl who was first to speak a horn honks three times and a shinny bread box on wheels with quilted patterns in its aluminum sides drives onto the construction sight the doors pop open like locust wings the workers flock to buy sandwiches and drinks like ants feeding off the remains of a severed finger cutting off pieces to take back to the cinnamon colored mound for further handling and distribution now that Eddy's molar is hollowed out like an elephant's tusk the dentist packs in the silver filling material pushing down hard on Eddy's jaw making a squeaking sound like the two men are ridding in a car with an old suspension system Eddy complains of discomfort and the doctor increases the gas flow the hissing gets louder and he produces a razor thin spike like instrument to give Eddy another shot of Novocain pinching Eddy's right cheek the spike feels like the bite of a small insect the shaft of the spike tastes cold and sterile to Eddy's tongue the contractor leans on his plywood drawing board and sketches corrections with a pencil in the background a cement mixer rumbles patches of cement from previous jobs cling to the sides of its multi colored barrel resembling oatmeal left to dry in a child's bowl order restored the plans are laid out for tonight's action at this time it looks as if no one won the male cockfight for the young woman with the angelic face and all sides pull back waiting for another chance they will strike at just past midnight a picture of Ernesto Che Guevara stares down at them along with a shiny picture of Chairman Mao his face reddish orange using a high pressure water device Eddy tries to spit into a white porcelain bowl a long string of saliva arcs from his mouth into the bowl already his jaw is starting to hurt and the right side of his mouth feels big and dead as if the electricity has been turned off inside his cheek he sits in the chair waiting for the gas to lift his wife is in the front office paying the bill and is ready to drive him home the gas making him wobbly when he walks the whole world appears odd and sad his jaw starts to act like a red warning light blinking on and off with pain the last steel beam in place the frame of the building looks like an oversized kid's jungle gym with orange and browns standing out against the blue sky brown with a touch of green palm trees at dusk the building frame reminds you of a child's play toy left to the moisture of morning dew on the ground around the foundation figures move in the shadows a police car sweeps the area with its high beam never seeing a soul the shaft of light from the car dances over the corners and edges of the construction sight going dark and moving on to another call a half a mile away when the shadows finish the young angelic plain faced woman is the last one to emerge she stands across the street in a doorway of a rundown building serving as a home for the elderly she holds in her hand a small plastic box with two buttons on it and an antenna protruding from the top of the box her pale finger chewed down to the cuticle pushes the button the blood in her digit collecting at the pressure point in reds and whites and a second later a loud hot orange and blue fire ball shoots up from the middle of the steel frame blowing it apart with an explosion so powerful windows are shattered in a three mile radius from the point of contact hearing the explosion Eddy jerks up his jaw starts pounding he goes to the window and watches as the flames lap and reach for the cold dark sky the girl with the angelic face is in the third floor walk up legs wrapped around the young man who conducted the meeting her thick lower lip quivers in response to the young man's repeated thrusts on the wall above them a picture Chairman Mao hangs he takes the scene in a huge smile on his face.

Copyright © 1996
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