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Jim Meirose

Perception is Reality (ignition)


Crisis; gas, strongly smelling, from the basement. Never does this happen, but with our luck now, it just has to. Who’d even think of such a thing? Ever, never. But hey. I got to go down the cellar and see what’s what.

Okay, but. Before you go, would you please scratch my back?

But I got to go now. It’s dangerous.

Oh please, just scratch it quick now. It’s bad, here. I swear, why on earth are we made to itch terribly so often on parts of our bodies we can’t possibly reach? Why’s the Lord above made us in such a way as to endure such torments as this?

It could be worse.


Something deep inside your body could itch. No one could scratch there.

True, true. But thank God, that cannot be.


Why not?

I don’t think the nerves inside us can itch.

That’s wrong. Why shouldn’t they?   

They can’t. I just know.  

You’re wrong.

No, I’m not.

Hey, listen to you. Tell you what, genius. Look it up there. Right now.

All right. I will.

Some few moments of clicking keys, a sigh, another, a click or two more, and then.

Okay. Here you go; it says, there are different types of nerves throughout your body. Your internal organs do not have the nerves responsible for the itch sensation.

That’s wrong.

Why? I looked it up, and got three, here—yes, three answers. And they’re all the same.

Oh, really? Three? Three saying what?

Okay—okay, here; itch receptors only go as far inside the body as the mucous membranes, such as inside our nostrils or throat. This is why our internal organs never seem itchy. There’s that.

And then; here—the only sensations within us are visceral. And visceral sensations do not convey itching.

No, wait. You’re all wrong, right there. Those two answers don’t even say the same thing.

What do you mean? Here’s another that says, Itch sensation in the skin is specific. Within the body there are no such specific sensations. Do you see?

No, I don’t. I do see it’s all a lie, though.

Clenching teeth, tightening breath.

Oh? Okay. Explain how it’s all a lie.

First, you said there are different types of nerves throughout your body. You followed that with saying our internal organs do not have the nerves responsible for the itch sensation. Then, you added that itch receptors only go as far inside our bodies as the mucous membranes, such as inside our nostrils or throat. This is why our internal organs never seem itchy. You went on and on, like that, I mean—I mean, why can you not see the problem with this—well, this so-called proof?

I’m sorry, but I see no problem. I think you need to back down.

Why? You are unconscious! Totally unconscious! You need to see some kind of doctor if you cannot get what I’m saying!

No. Stop, shut. And, here; tell me concisely why all these proofs are totally wrong?

Okay, but; will you not interrupt while I tell you? It will take some number of words to tell you, as the answer must be presented in a series of stages, which I must then go on to merge and craft into one simple obvious conclusion. Will you have patience, and not talk over me as you always need to do?

I don’t talk over you.

Yes, you do. When you’re angry like this, you always do.

I am not angry. And no, I don’t. Why are you making such a big deal of this?

Hold! See, there you go. Back off and listen patiently, while I present the proof. Okay?

Glare, no word, or words, even; just a glare.

I asked you; okay?


Thank you. First, the Coleman Liau indices of your textual statements do not agree. Their Flesch Kincaid Grade Levels are much too disparate. That’s two reasons. And also—

Wait, no, that proves nothing.

—hold! You said you would not jump in. Listen; as I was saying, those two measures of text characteristics are too far apart for a sane person to possibly claim your textual statements match in the slightest. Plus, to top off the pop of it, their ARI indices, SMOG levels, and Flesch Reading Ease calculations are not even close. And with the differences in word counts and word frequencies and all that stuff too, well, thus; it follows, that there’s no way in high heaven, you’ve shown me at all that there cannot be itching deep within your body.

Silence; rippling out, and further; until further outspread to it being safe for the other to speak, who then said flatly, Wait, listen. Of course, my sentences were not exactly the same. But; they did not have to be the same, to mean the same thing.


What I said. I know damned well you heard me! 

I am sorry! But now you’re being ridiculous. How can two things be completely different and be the same thing as well?

No, wait. Will you think a bit? It may be true that two things cannot be completely different and the same all at once, but; we’re not talking about just any things. Not rocks or stones or tables or chairs; we’re talking about sentences; sentences made of words combined with other words to convey a definite meaning; and, two or more sentences can be put together in totally different ways, and still mean exactly the same thing. Can’t you see this?


Eh there; can’t you see? 

The silence, the silence of the bowed head, the tensely rippled forehead, and the squint.

Finally. The look up.


But what about the Coleman Liau? said slowly, softly. And, the Flesch Kincaid?

Those do nothing to analyze meaning. Only how the sentences are composed.

But, how about the ARI? And the SMOG? Oh, yes; and the Flesch Reading Ease? All impertinent? All meaningless? Is that your claim?

No! Think! You are trying to wriggle out. I sense you know you’re wrong!

Wait, no, snapped the downswept arm; There’s no wriggling! I never wriggle. Just answer me. Why are those measurements meaningless?

I never said they were meaningless. 

Yes, you did. You said they were impertinent! 

That’s true, but—

But, nothing! I am offended!

Uh, wait. No—

No, nothing! I am deeply offended! There’s a great truth that says perception is reality! Have you never heard that great truth?

Yes, of course I have. But I didn’t say—

Good! Shut up now! I am the winner! 

No, you’re not.

Yes, I am! 

No—oh, I give up. I do. Never mind. Go down the cellar and check the gas. Go on.

Crisis: gas has been coming. 

The rise, the turn away, but, Wait. Listen; you know, if you’re right that our inner organs can never itch at all, that would be very lucky.

Coming. Building.

Oh? Why? 

Because! You would never need someone to do this to reach your itch!

Coming, building, all along. Pulled. Sharp. Tool, no; weapon; pulled, lifted.

My God, get back, put that down!

Why? Why? I just want you to know how lucky you are!


Ahh! Oh!

And building. 

Here! Feel that? Feel how lucky you are?

Feel that!

Feel that! 

How lucky you are!

How lucky!

Coming, building. Unseen all along. 

Then, ignition.





Jim Meirose's work has been widely published. His novels include "Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer"(Optional Books), "Understanding Franklin Thompson"(JEF), "Le Overgivers au Club de la Résurrection"(Mannequin Haus), "No and Maybe - Maybe and No"(Pski's Porch), "Audio Bookies" (LJMcD Communications), and "Et Tu" (C22 press). Info: @jwmeirose

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