October 2008 / Volume 8 / Issue Three
James Babbs
Telling Me About the Voices

after wed been sitting there
after wed talked about
sports and women
and the terrible state of the world
drinking cheap beer
stacking the empties on the floor
he started telling me about the voices
he said
he heard them all the time
do you hear them now
I asked
he said
not when Im drinking
I put my empty on the stack
before going to the kitchen and
getting another one from the fridge
I brought him one
knowing hed want it
without having to ask him
so what do they say
I asked
he was looking at the wall and
I didnt know if he heard me
nothing crazy or violent
he said
if thats what you mean
I nodded my head
watched him finish his beer
before he opened the one Id given him and
took a long drink
mostly they just guide me
he said
like telling me wheat bread
when I start reaching for the white
or when I want the small mustard
they say no
get the big jar
you fucking idiot
I started laughing
before taking another drink
getting beer in my nose
do you think theres
something wrong with me
he said
I told him
between fits of coughing
trying not to throw up
he slapped me on the back
I stopped coughing
took a long drink of beer
trying to clear my throat