The Maven

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Once upon a midnight, Dearie (an hour I squandered, sleepless, bleary,

Over many a fake or spurious volley of “Words” I do deplore —

Like “qi” or “za” or “jota”; “xiing”!?), suddenly there came a dinging:

A faint, but steady, singing, pinging, from my cell phone on the floor.

“Oy,” my fiancé muttered, sleeping. “Turn off my iPhone, por favor.

I ain’t on stinkin’ call no more.”

 

Nah, succinctly I responded, sweating (for this was August,

Hot, unending, and I, in menopause, was shvitzing mightily, therefore.

Dreamlessly by night I wallowed, in Facebook apps or the tweets I followed

In search of rest; such crap I swallowed!–the Buzzfeed quizzes; the memes galore–

In an attempt to escape, or better yet, ignore

Wedding terror: eight weeks more!).

 

But so the sudden buzzing, thrumming–the phone’s vibration, softly humming–

Chilled me – killed me! T’was it the rabbi, calling off his hateful chore?

Go to voicemail, I cried, entreating—who? Myself?  The phone, repeating

(Shrill and strident, now, its ringing), singing upon the bedroom floor?

“Huh?” said my fiancé, softly breathing, releasing a sweet and gentle snore.

Hush.  It’s nothing, mon amour.

 

But soon I could no longer take it. Stupid phone—would I have to break it?

What? I cried into its numbers (face it! Phones have no receivers anymore).

What do you WANT? I shouted, stabbing button upon button, but not one grabbing

A voice from the ether, nor did I either stem its awful, ringing roar.

Who are you? I screeched; the Caller ID I beseeched:  Input; Volume; Channel 4.

(Alas, t’was the remote, alors.)

 

Then deep there dropped a silence searing; the phone had stopped, or else my hearing.

(Which: why not? My skin and vision: already going or gone before.)

Yet then I heard it, a distant token, its ringing sound now strangely broken.

Replaced by song–a ring tone, spoken, breaking like a wave on my mental shore.

In the midnight hour, she cried:  More. More. More.

(T’was Billy Idol, raging boor!)

 

And so, like me, you’re now supposin’: who hath this wretched ring tone chosen? 

Someone phoney!  Someone posin’; someone I’d ne’er met before.

Hello? said I, my cell phone finding (thrilled to stop the Rebel Yell’s unwinding),

Who calls without the hour minding?  It’s after midnight, Satan’s Spoor!

“Not here, it isn’t,” came the answer (the voice a rasp from ancient lore).

“I’m in L.A., you silly whore!”

 

Then oh the trembling!  Oh, the shivers!  I knew that voice: it was Joan Rivers!

Plastic-surgery maimed and self-proclaimed Maven of fashion and décor.

Wake up! I cried to my sleeping fiancé, but rouse did he not, nor did he respond, nay.

I was alone in this dream, like a thing from Beyonce, like all the single ladies of yore.

My cell phone crackled, its speakerphone cackled (a sound I confess I do abhor):

“Knock-knock.” Who’s there? “Anita Fore.”

 

Anita Fore who? said I, with a quaver, fearing an answer I would not savor,

For I’d been driven to great and greater anger by this here Maven e’er before.

From my cell phone: only silence.  In truth, I contemplated violence!  Hello, Joan?

I should be sleeping! And now you’ve brought me close to weeping.  Anita Fore,

Who is that bitch, and why must she keep on knocking at my door?

Quoth the Maven: “Go to the store.”

 

I dropped the phone, Dear Reader, dropped it.  Put a cloth to my head

And mopped it.  Grabbed my hair and would have chopped it (3 inches, maybe 4).

Anything to stop the dreading! Better just to think of the wedding!  Or even

Of the sickly pounds I was shedding, than to hear the Maven’s voice once more.

Yet hear it I did, rising, derisive, from my cell phone on the floor:

Quoth the Maven: “Anita Fore.”

  

I hate you, Joan Rivers! I cried to the timbers of my room in the attic that night.

Let me go back to bed, play Words with Friends instead, or even just read, I implore!

Again from the phone came the ghastly cackle, along with a horrid, rustling crackle,

Like a candy wrapper raising hackles in movie theaters in times of yore.

The Maven, clearing her ancient throat, to quoth from the cell phone evermore:

“At the store, say ‘Anita Fore.’”

 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, with my curses (can we get a censor?):

F*cks! and D*mns! and Sh*ts! on end, sir, until my fiancé rose up with a roar!

“The phone!” he cried, and with a moan, I complied, putting it into his hand, sir.

“Hello, Joan Rivers?” he said.  “What givers?” Then he listened, and listened more.

Then he clicked the phone off, and said, with a cough, “The Maven says to go to the store.

It’s a bit of a mess, but your size six blue lace dress?  It just doesn’t fit anymore.

Tell them you need a size four.”

 

 

About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona way back in the 1980s and has put it to scant use ever since, publishing a few short stories in now-defunct magazines (including American Short Fiction) and storing a handful of novels in now-defunct boxes. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, in a new house with some of her children, her new husband, and a bunch of old stuff that totally doesn’t go together. Especially the cow creamers.

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