They Bought Raymond Carver’s Kitchen Table at a Garage Sale By Todd Mercer

April 7, 2015 Comments Off on They Bought Raymond Carver’s Kitchen Table at a Garage Sale By Todd Mercer

Two fairly dissatisfied, vaguely middle class people sit at it for most of the evening. They bat words back and forth.

An inauspicious weeknight of pretty much nothing.

Practically identical to other weeknight evenings.

They consider having another couple over to play bridge or canasta. It doesn’t happen. They consider splitting up, but that’s a lot of legal rigmarole.

Out in the wider world, there must be people with as much nothing in their evenings. Maybe if they find those people, they won’t feel so disconnected. That’s if they decide to get up and leave the house.

It has four sturdy legs and a tile top. They eat their generally-okay but no-great-shakes dinners on it. Certain distinguished table aficionados would gush about its quotidian beauty, its streamlined utility.


It was cheap. The couple didn’t want to eat from collapsible tray tables in front of the TV anymore. They wondered if their shows had been causing her digestion problems or his occasional spontaneous crying.

He’d said, “We should buy this table.”

She’d said, “It’s perfect.”

They bat enough words around that they can feel the hours pass. Eventually. Right now. It’s still the same time it was the last time he asked her what time it was.

They’re desperate for something interesting to happen.

Just about fucking anything.

It won’t, but the table was too good a deal to pass up.

© 2014 Todd Mercer

Todd Mercer won the first Woodstock Writers Festival’s Flash Fiction contest. His chapbook, Box of Echoes, won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press contest, and his digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, is forthcoming from RHP Books. Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in Apocrypha & Abstractions, Blue Collar Review, The Camel Saloon, Camroc Press Review, Cease, Cows, among many others. Mercer is based in Grand Rapids and Antrim County, Michigan.

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