“Spending Money” by Anthony Hagen

Untitled, Robert Casella

Spending Money

Incredible: twenty for fifty-six, a two-pack for five, nine four-tops for
seventeen only. “Listen, buddy,” said the cashier, “I can ring you up for
what fits in the bag. The rest is your responsibility.” We have the car seat,
the organic diapers, and the palm-tree-scented disinfectant wipes. Next
comes the coconut-oil detergent. The song of the summer has arrived:
“Take me out to the ball…” A strikeout! This is truly the nation’s most
honorable pastime. I am deathly allergic to peanuts. I am driving
the approximate speed limit. These fees for parking are outrageous, to say the
least. The exam was administered in a sealed plastic film that was almost
chalky to the touch. I couldn’t rip it off. The administrator escorted me
from the room. “Are you carrying a mobile device?” he said. “Is your
mobile device able to record important test information?” he said. “Do you
understand that we must now destroy all of your testing materials?” he
said. “Are you fully aware that we are now obligated to report you to the
Academic Advisory Board?” he said. “Have you accepted that we will be
unable to refund the examination fee?” he said. The serial number wore
off, so I called up the service line, and they transferred me to the
technology support desk, who then wired my payment to the checks-
cashed office. I need to make another call tomorrow.


Author photoAnthony Hagen is a native of northern Virginia and currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. Recent work can be found in American Poetry Journal and SHARKPACK Annual.

IMG_4320Robert Casella lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.