The Listener Is Called by the Future
Joseph Scapellato

But only for one week. On Sunday, just before it called, he searched the living room for the remote control. He checked the coffee table. He checked the cushions. He checked between the folds of his mother's coarse afghans. Frustrated, he yawned, and as he reached to cover his mouth saw that the remote was in his hand. He turned on the TV. When the news sprang up, so did a fretful and indefinite full-body ringing -- similar to déjà vu, only sharper and stiffer, less smoky and dream-like -- and he'd known, he'd known he'd known, he'd known all along that when he'd clicked ON it'd be the news, it'd be the back-up anchorwoman turning her head too soon to face her co-anchor, it'd be her bright embarrassment and quick attempt to dim it.
Monday the phone rang. The instant he answered he'd known he'd hear his grandfather growling, "How long has he been gone?" Word by word he mouthed what the old man said next as the old man said it next: "Don't you think of fibbing."
Tuesday his older brother sauntered into his room and said, "Get this," and as he listened he'd known he'd be hearing about his brother's timid girlfriend, their first-time sex, her hopelessly shuddering tears, and he'd even known that his brother's boastfulness signaled his own timidity, that some of what he said about his girlfriend was how he felt about himself.
Wednesday he wore his knowing like a hooded cloak with headphones. He felt important but indicted, ashamed but initiated. He repeatedly stubbed his toes at school.
Thursday his mother made dinner: meatballs and potatoes. When he set the extra plate she gave him one look and then another. He'd known he'd get the one that hardened slowly followed by the one that slowly softened, each the other's expiration.
Friday he tromped home from school alone, adding blocks to his route, unsure and afraid of what he'd soon be afraid and sure of.
Saturday the doorbell chimed the moment he went to bed. He ripped off his covers and dashed down the stairs, rushing to beat his mother and older brother to the door, knowing as he turned the bolt that come Sunday he'd click back to not knowing what he'd soon be knowing, which might hurt more than it used to, but not as much as this.