Leftovers at the Lays Factory
Timothy Gager

They were potato chip sorters, standing half a room away from each other. Al was assigned to position C7, Dawn to D1, both picking out rejects. They'd done this most of their lives.

He lets a few get by. "Don't tell me about me, let's look at yourself," he says to a thin one with too much green and burnt edges.

Dawn is only a conveyer belt away. She looks for the ones that others have missed. There are many, so she shoots Al a look, not caught because he's scribbling a love note to her, shielding it under his apron. Often he hides his hands—they've been scarred by hot oil—in a similar way. She remembers a movie, thinks that Richard Gere is like a God who doesn't exist.

The blue paper with her name on it rushes toward her, bouncing on discs that glisten with oil. It's so perfect. She's spent years picking out imperfection. She'll lean to reach a mistake, and the good ones roll past.

They aren't taken.

I see miracles—things I can't explain: a convertible with people jumping up and down; a rock flying; a talking dog; a cripple walking on water. The darkness sings me a kind of hymn. I  see you both, so clear and sweet that I hold you inside my pale arms. The moon lived the bargain. The moon is still here. If I'm able, I'll hold up my end.

Timothy Gager's most recent book is TREATING A SICK ANIMAL, a collection of very short fictions (Cervena Barva Press).

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Kevin Dooley.

Read TE's postcard.

W i g l e a f               03-03-13                                [home]