FoundlingReview

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Tarzan could swing across the jungle on that thing, his wife said that morning in bed as they stared into
each other's eyes, heads resting on pillows.

He laughed.

Take care of it, please.

I will.

But he didn't. After shaving he planned to use his nail clippers or something to yank the hair that jutted like a porcupine quill from his nostril cavern, but after wiping his face clean he forgot all about it. No surprise there; he never took care of things promptly (as his wife always reminded him).

***
  
On his way to the office he drove his daughters to school. See it? the older one asked, under her breath, muting her voice with a karate-chop hand as she leaned from her passenger seat into the back.

Ooooh, the younger one whispered after sticking her head forward and sneaking a peak. It is totally gross. He's such a dweeb.

He nearly asked what they were discussing, when it came to him; that goddamned nose hair! He told himself he'd deal with it in the company lot before leaving the car. Just bite his lip, endure the pain, and pull the sucker right
out with the dexterous grip of his thumb and forefinger.

But, of course, he forgot.

***

You're late, they told him when he arrived on the job, and the workday went downhill from there. Talk of company layoffs, an unwelcome internal audit, and worst of all, his turn to go solo and meet the thorny clients at PackageSoft, who weren't happy about the latest installment.

He hit the men's room before leaving. As he washed his hands after peeing he noticed the nasal hair protruding grotesquely as he gazed into the bathroom mirror. A warm jolt of anxiety signaled, Enough! But right as he was sizing the thing up in his slippery soaped fingers, considering the efficacy of his car key as a cutting implement, his boss walked in.

You haven't left yet? Are you kidding me? You better get the hell over there. 

***

He weaved through traffic in his money-pit of a sedan to the client's campus, which was situated upon a breathtaking ocean overlook. The view was nice, but inside the building hell awaited. Things started cordially enough, with banal banter about the weather and the upcoming Super Bowl, but then faces turned grim as they entered the conference room. There the VP told him how displeased they were with his company's recent track record of service and support. As the VP said this his minions seated around the table nodded, unveiling sour faces. We plan to NOT renew our contract.

He immediately went on the defensive to uphold the company's position, but it was hard. He didn't really believe what he was saying, and his underarms leaked like Niagara Falls, his cheeks felt as if they were on fire. The VP just shook his head and said what he was hearing was nothing but poor excuses, and the minions giggled and pointed. Pointed at his nose.

Let's call Ripley's, one of them said.

Immediately he cowered. He gathered his papers lying on the table and shoved them into his briefcase. Sorry, I couldn't be of help, he said.

The room swelled with laughter as he left, and no one even bothered to show him the door.

***

Back on the road, the office was the last place he wanted to be. He sought solace along the cliff-edge contours of the coastal highway. He motored with a surprising smile. That is, until he checked his rearview. Thanks to the mirror's distortion, the nasal hair looked like a willow branch growing from his face. Better late than never - time to hatchet the little fucker.

He fingered the long ugly strand, unable to get a grip at first. But just as he approached a sharp turn he yanked with gusto and off it came. The sight of the hair in his fingertips moved him deeply. It had been many years since he'd felt so peaceful, so at ease.

He cherished that moment, even as the car blasted over the guardrail and cartwheeled hundreds of feet to the sea's embrace.



Roland Goity lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His stories appear in dozens of literary publications, including Fiction International,
Scrivener Creative Review, Underground Voices, Talking River, Eclectica, Bryant Literary Review and Word Riot. He is fiction editor of the
online journal, LITnIMAGE.



  

Copyright 2009