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chain of coincidence
Photography by helen dixon

chain of coincidence

by Rex Butters rex butters
Enjoy Art | Poetry

she back bedroom
land line dials information
try to find local tai chi classes
5 blocks away looks good

I living room hang
with Bogart, Lorre, Cook, and Greenstreet
walk bright sad San Francisco streets
once more
enter the Falcon Maze

sharp hard door knock startle
I see a dark uniform
brown eyes shaded
legs apart
hand rests on holstered
gun butt
door opens
to no nonsense lady cop
hands on belt
another officer
to her right
up two stairs
their positions imply

standing here
old, tired, bald, and near sighted
I’m perceived as a threat

“hi” I say “can I help you?”

“we got a 911 call
from this address
the caller hung up
in cases like this
we need to come in
and take a look around.”

“you know what?” I say
“you probably want
the place across the street
I heard you guys were over there
last week
you get a lot of business
from them”

the trio tenses
“sir” she says unimpressed,
“we need to come in
and take a look around.”

21st century America
she stands on the worn
door mat
but it might as well be
the Constitution

“there’s no one here
but me and my wife
and I’m just watching
a movie”

I say pointing
to the paused image
of bullying police outside
black and white Bogart’s apartment
him blocking the doorway
and then I instantly
regret it

“what’s going on?” Monica asks
walking out the bedroom

I explain it

“see?” I tell
the even less impressed
public servant

“it’s just us

and we didn’t call.”

she demands entry
a third time

“sure” I say “c’mon in”

gun guy stands
in the door way

she coldly watches us
third officer sweeps the scene

“all clear” he says

“OH, you know what?” Monica asks
“I was trying to get information
on the phone

and I think I dialled 911
instead of 411
I get them confused
when I realized my mistake
I hung up

I didn’t want to bother
you guys”

l o n g

p a u s e

by the stern lady officer

“what were you looking up?” she asks

“local tai chi studios” she replies
I wanted more information about
the program at InFocus”

the 3rd cop asks

“yeah, you know them?”

“oh yeah, I’ve know him for years
we’ve trained together
he’s great
actually we’re old friends
the real deal, you should
definitely study
with him”

“perfect” she says
“thanks for the information”

“sure, looks like you dialled

the right number

after all”

gun guy and the iron lady


glare hard

at their partner

jaws clenched

“I didn’t know
you studied tai chi”
gun guy said

“oh yeah” he said
“in this job

you need something
to help you

to me
his job
doesn’t seem that

the lady cop
may have
rolled her shaded eyes

“ok, in the future
if you dial 911
by mistake
just stay on the line”

walking out

she still scowl/frown/glares
at cop 3

“she doesn’t remember it”
Monica says
walking back
to the bedroom
to the phone

“but I massaged her once-
lotta neck and shoulder
she nods



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