Rique Sanford


After Death Trapped Them

Any mild satisfaction with their respective lives fled
when they encountered each other in the lobby
of a community theater. It was almost twenty years
after the last day of high school. For Mike--the one who ran
lights for the show--an uneventful life except for the overtime
at his day job, antidepressants, a second mortgage and, on a
brighter note, the revival of an award-winning play. He remained
in a hometown that had grown to include strip malls and gated
communities--the guy everyone expected would become a famous
actor. Jack was unshave, unemplyed, still unpublished,
back home on a visit--and this might be hard to grasp--
captivated by this embarrassing, politically incorrect play
about a pair of closeted homosexual playwrights--hacks
both of them--who frighten a rich woman with a weak ticker,
and collect her inheritance once she is dead of sudden heart
failure. The leisurely contempt that should have caused their
parting--each with his share of the lucre--had in fact bound them
with surprising celerity. With harpoons, guns, knives, and power-
tools they launched their separate homocidal schemes, and
finally succeeded in offing each other at the end
of the second act. Manifestly unsympathetic characters, their
nightly fates were of no real concern to anyone at all. They moved
the story along and then wound up as comic fodder. --Or perhaps
their season was cut too short, leaving dullness to sprout
in even rows like suburban tract-mansions in unplanted fields
and in the stories materializing over the former heads
of school chums spending time over slow drinks. Now,
neither one is what he was to the other in the first
place: certain, calculable--his closest rival.

This inverse reflection of
Constantine Cavafy, "Before Time Could Change Them"
is 2003 by Rique Sanford