Acts of mercy are best done
in secret. He enacts his death,
every night begging for the axe.
A secret rests in the stock room
where the boxes gather. If you stay still
Johnson will whisper your name.
All excesses shall be corrected.
Johnson knows this with his bruised neck
& hacked thigh & tears fleeing his face.
The cashiers don’t complain. Instead
they make a game of it. New hires must meet
Johnson, must wait in the back stock for his mutter.
Lord help the sanity of the keyholder.
Before the sun rises and the doors open
horses are heard galloping though the store.
A torn bag holds no contents. All the plastic
bags are torn one winter morning. The stacks
of bags in the back all chopped and mussed.
Those who handle the money are apt to fall
into his lap. The managers all quit. Insist it’s not
Johnson, but what else could it be.
Death solves all problems. Johnson was poor
and in love with a girl who owned horses. He croaked
in an orchard and they built a toy store on his grave.
Cameron Schneberger is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College where he studied comedy, theater and other employable things. His work has appeared in The Minetta Review, Yellow Chair Review, and once in a paperback gay romance novel. He believes in ghosts even though he’s never seen one.