Carl and I

Carl and I
by Travis Catsull

We were waiting for Carl
Or at least that’s what I called him

Carl arrived and told us we were all fired
Said he had to get back
As we sat around talking
About what we’d do now

It was another guy’s turn to bring a loaf of bread
but he said he was out of money
When suddenly another man got up
Who I call Carl
And punched him in the nose

“Bring the godamn bread next time!”
and it was then I decided not to trust him

I was standing over Carl as he whined
Blood flowing from his dark, pumice pocked nose
As I consoled him,
“It’s alright Carl” and I threw another log in the fire

I don’t know if I cried that night
But I tried

It can get really cold in Honolulu
And while most people don’t know that
Everyone knew Carl would be cooking breakfast
In the morning

“You alright Carl?” I asked and got me some bread

“That motherfucker!”
as Carl threw some old bread into the fire
and walked off
“I’m going surfing!”

“Surfing” didn’t mean anything
except that you were gonna hang out
in the public bathroom and steal wallets
out of people’s shorts who were taking a shit
in the stall next to you

I worked on my tarp, getting it tight
When my Dad called
“Hey Carl” he said flatly
He knew I got fired
And asked me to move back home to Cancun
“I need someone to deliver this bread,” he said
but I told him
I had a whole loaf
And took a long nap

It was raining hot
When I woke and checked my okra plant
This next batch would go to Carl
Who I owed for repairing my boogie board

Just then I heard a bunch of shouting
And saw that Carl was at it again
Giving another man trouble
For playing his harmonica
While he was asleep

I walked over to the fire
And threw a bunch of logs in
And the fire grew bright
When I saw we had several loaves of bread
So I got me a couple slices
And warmed them up on a stick

I looked around for Carl
I wanted to thank him
But he was gone

I didn’t see him for a few weeks
And then months

Years later I got a letter from him
And it simply read,


I moved back home to Cancun. Don’t touch nothing.



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