MIRACLE MONOCLE | Issue Two, Spring 2010
by Patrick Scott Vickers

Dante was lying in his room when the police arrived as one of the spectators had called for help after watching Dante’s head wrapped in the sheet and had become convinced that he was not breathing and why weren’t all these people doing something and she was going to be the one to save the day with her cell phone pressed to her ear giving directions to the 911 operator, screaming because the roar from the speakers were blanketing us in white noise that a couple of cops silenced when they cracked open the room and found Dante tangled with his sheet wrapped around his head not moving until a cop shook him while the partner looked around the room and its one camera aimed at Dante and then at us when Dante yawned and asked what all of the fuss was about so we weren’t guilty of manslaughter that night but got a good talking to by the cops on the nature of art and why video art had been so done and how could we be risking a man’s life in such a cliché manner until they left muttering and when we tried to find the woman who had called nobody would confess and then it was over and everything was empty the room and the viewing room and the hallways and I followed Dante to his studio upstairs where he showed me what he had recorded of us watching him sleeping and he paused the tape at the moment when we were peering through the broken door the cops leading the way but all frozen and Dante said that he was familiar with doorways because that was where he used to stand when his daughter was young because she had developed a habit of sleeping with the sheet over her head after they had gone to see a space movie and she had wanted to know what a shield was as the captain had kept asking for shields dammit and ever after pretended that her sheets were shields and covered herself saying goodnight to her father with shields up and then covering her head and Dante couldn’t help but stop on his own way to bed and stand in her doorway straining to see her small face under her sheet and tracing the outline of her lips to make sure that the cloth moved with her breath losing track of himself waiting for that shift of air in and then out.

Patrick Scott Vickers is a technologist and instructor for Virginia Commonwealth University’s English Department and a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program. He graduated in 2006 with an MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama. His stories and poems have appeared in Strange Horizons, Mid-American Review, and Touchstone. Most recently, his Flash art has appeared in the online journal failbetter.