Excuse Me by Frank E. Mundo

My poor aunt dies a lot.

And I get explosive diarrhea

way more often than other people seem to.

I have small kitchen fires

that cause “serious” smoke damage

but no actual damage to my kitchen occurs,

and no one ever gets hurt, thank god,

except my poor aunt.

I have terrible allergies.

My face/tongue/neck swell up

like a balloon/potato/honey-baked ham,

or like a pack of hot dogs in the microwave.

I strain, twist, sprain, pull, break, tweak and bruise

all kinds of joints, tendons, muscles, cartilage and bones.

I have fibromyalgia.

My sciatica is killing me.

I fall a lot.

I have court/jury duty/some kind of deposition.

I have to go renew my passport.

Have you seen the lines at the post office?

I’m getting my taxes done.

I always wait until the last minute.

And while I’m not allergic to peanuts or bee stings,

strawberries and sesame seeds have been known

to affect me like poison ivy.

Oh, and poison ivy. I get that pretty bad, too,

during my many many treks through the woods

and my frequent hikes in the mountains or wherever.

I have a lot of big projects I’m working on right now.

A lot!

And I’m on deadline.

I’m working on a new poem/story/article/essay/book.

Plus, it’s date night.

Tomorrow is my anniversary.

We need some together-time.

You know how it is?

I lost my wallet/phone/laptop,

and I need to make a bunch of calls to cancel everything,

change my pin numbers/passwords/usernames.

Identity thieves are the worst.

The pipes in my house burst.

The roof leaks,

and that springy thing on the garage door snaps and uncoils.

You should hear the racket it makes.

It’s dangerous — and expensive!

You don’t even know.

The twins are sick again.

I don’t have any money.

My wife is seriously buggin’ today.

I have other plans.

The babysitter got the grippe.

The cable/internet/satellite guy is coming any minute.

It’s my grammy’s 95th birthday.

My battery/transmission belt/hose/gasket broke.

The Johnson rod in my car needs to be replaced

right away.

My spark plugs have lost their spark.

I get a lot of flat tires with no spares,

and I have fender benders

that cause no actual damage.

So, I’m sorry. But, as you can see,

I cannot attend your


I can’t make it to

work/school/lunch/dinner today/tonight either.

And I can’t help you

move/go to the airport/water your plants/walk your pet.

I know I said I would, but I can’t.

No, I told you I would think about it.

And I have.

But I can’t.

Besides, we can always get together anytime,

just not today.

And probably not next weekend either.

My poor aunt is really sick.


Frank Mundo is a writer and poet in Alta Loma California. His fiction, nonfiction and poetry has been published and anthologized often. He has a BA in English from UCLA, where he also completed the Creative Writing Program. His poetry has appeared in the Lowestoft Chronicle, Autumn Sky Poetry, Angel City Review, 3Elements Review, The Bicycle Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Silver Birch Press, Yay! LAMagazine, and Poetic Diversity. His poem “Aubade” was nominated for the 2016 Best of the Net Anthology). His novel-in-verse, The Brubury Tales (foreword by Carolyn See) is a modern version of The Canterbury Tales set in Los Angeles just after the ’92 riots.

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