Jim Siergey: Four Eyes Only

March 7th, 2021

My energy had begun to flag so I headed toward the washroom to splash some cold water on my face. The door was cracked open so I stealthily entered the darkened room. A pull chain caressed my face enticing me to give it a gentle tug which I did and the room was lit with all the intensity that a greasy 25 watt bulb could emit.

It was a narrow room with several odd angles and filled with a multitude of odds and ends. I felt like I was standing in a junk drawer. I espied my destination in the far corner, a small shallow sink. It stood on one leg and rest of the basin rested on a Butcher Block table next to it.

On the tabletop was an assortment of nuts and bolts, mostly of a rusted nature, an unused pad of faded yellow Post-It notes, a plaid pot holder that had seen better days, an assortment of keys that no longer locked or opened anything and various scraps of damp rags.

I pushed them to the side exposing the buckled seams of the long-neglected Butcher Block, removed my glasses and put them down in the cleared space. I turned on the tap and waited for the brown water to turn clear before splashing the ice cold liquid onto my countenance. It was bracing.

Sufficiently invigorated, I turned off the tap and looked for a towel. Finding none I used the tails of my untucked shirt to dry my face. I reached for my glasses but they weren’t there. I sorted through the items I had moved aside, my fingers picking carefully through them like a cat stepping softly through a bed of nails but they were not to be found.

Plagued by blurry vision, I bent down and looked about the floor where even more detritus lie. I gingerly picked my way through pieces of torn newspaper, bent nails, crooked screws, clots of hair, coffee grounds, talcum powder and mouse droppings. My spectacles were not among this jungle of debris.

I straightened up and scratched my head in befuddlement. Then I heard a voice speak out.

“You lookin’ for something?”

I narrowed my eyes, pointlessly hoping that my squint would bring forth some sort of focus. There beside me was a man sitting on the toilet, pants around his ankles and what looked to be a Reader’s Digest in his hands. Had he been there all along?

Averting my hazy gaze, I explained that I couldn’t find my glasses and, wishing to give the man the privacy he deserved, hurried out the door.


The Zipster…


I found myself in what looked to be a warehouse. I didn’t remember being there before. Had I gone out the wrong door?  How could I? It was such a small room there could not have been two doors. I walked up the narrow aisle and bumped into a folding chair upon which a small man was sitting facing away from me.

“Oh, excuse me.”, I apologized, “ I lost my glasses and can’t see very well.”

“Here.” The seated man said, “Try these. They have magic lenses. They’re advertised on TV.”

I took them from his outstretched hand and put them on. The non-prescriptive lenses did bring things a little more into focus. I had to tilt my head a certain way to make the “magic” work but that may have been because the lenses were scratched and one of the ear pieces was quite loose.

“How they working?” the seated figure asked.

“Not bad.” I replied.

“Ya wanna buy ‘em?”

I politely said no as I handed them back.

He shrugged and said that perhaps I could find some new ones in the room next door. They just received a big shipment of all kinds of things. So off I tottered to the doorway up ahead.

Next door was a room full of bins holding a variety of items. I found one bin that held several pairs of the “magic” glasses. I tried on a pair and the visual result was about the same. I could see a little clearer but the lenses were decorated with a bunch of tiny back dots.

“I have enough floaters of my own”, I thought to myself. “I don’t need to have more.”

Unfortunately, every pair I looked at had some design imprinted on the lenses, tiny hearts, wee whirligigs, scrimshaw-like etchings, candy canes and one with a tiny angel dancing atop Zippy the Pinhead.

Amusing but useless, I put them all back in the bin.

From the next room I heard the muffled sound of a toilet flushing, a door creaking open and a man’s voice saying how much easier it was for him to read the jokes in small print with his new specs.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Regrets

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