about mark flanigan
Cincinnati native Mark Flanigan has been writing and performing for over 14 years....Works from his collections Wrong-Way Poems For One-Way Streets, Not Necessarily God Stories and Next to Nothing have appeared in a variety of independent publications and, along with his performances, have garnered critical acclaim. He has also co-written a screenplay (“Midway,” with Brian Keizer), edited a literary publication (omnibscure) and worked to develop, produce and curate various gallery shows and performance readings -- notably, VOLK/c.s.p.i. and Intermedia Series readings at the Contemporary Arts Center and the Weston art gallery. Flanigan’s monthly column, “Exiled on Main Street,” appeared for over three years, first in x-ray, and upon his resignation there, at semantikon.com. Performances of his work can be found on “the Volk/c.s.p.i. spoken word series CD (2001),” which he co-produced, and on the CD “One Night Only" (2002).   To learn more about his work, read his blog, review some of the works mentioned above, and listen to additional audio tracks visit: markflanigan.com
flanigan audio
mark flanigan exiled from archives

Feb 2009: Exiled...XXVIII: Dispatch from Outside

Jan 2009:Self Portrait (Out of the Emptiness)
Dec 2008: This Film is Not Yet Rated
Feb 2008: The Salmon Dance
Jan. 2008: A Greater Force
Dec. 2007: And Sometimes It Just Happens
Nov. 2007: Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Happen
October 2007: The Dance
June 2007: Cake
May 2007: Special Edition "Light Travel" mark Flanigan and Steve Proctor
April 2007: Zero Hour
March 2007: Prelude to a Kiss-Off
Jan 2006: State Of The Disunion Address 
Nov 2006: Youngblood
Oct 2006: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
exiled on main street archives

About Artist:

The Ticket

            A lone figure paces in front of a flat, unmarked grave.  Rosy-cheeked, a bit elfin, clad in navy blue hoodie, he speaks earnestly:  I did what you said, grandma.  I did exactly what you told me to, but no one believes me.  They say I’m crazy.  There’s a pause, then: I know I’m not crazy, grandma, I just don’t know what to do now.

            The first time I took much notice of Matt Overville was shortly after the night manager was fired for showing up to work drunk.  This not long after the very same manager had gotten a DUI in a company vehicle.  Word was out, and Matt peeked his head in my office in a sheepish way to convey the fact that he was interested in the position.  “I don’t wanna step on anybody’s toes,” he said, “but I wouldn’t mind having my name thrown in the hat.  That’s all I’m saying.”
            It was a job I knew well; I had done it myself for a decade.  I wasn’t about to do it again. 
            So, despite his own history of alcoholism—he was a year sober—and because there weren’t any other candidates, he was granted his wish.

            A month later, Matt approached me about the prospects of a company car, in particular the very one we had just rescued from the impound lot.  The previous night manager had cracked the windshield, and the passenger side seat had somehow been ripped out and misplaced in equally mysterious fashion.  Nonetheless, Matt reminded me, it was still an improvement over his car, a late-eighties model that had suffered years of abuse and often caused him to get pulled over for no other reason than being poor.  Besides, the driver’s side window in his car was non-existent and it was December in the Midwest. 

            It made sense that he had transportation that better matched his responsibilities, but nonetheless management soon denied his request simply on the grounds of recent memory.  I couldn’t blame them for that, only for making me the messenger.
            Yet there was good news to impart as well.  The transition had been seamless; it was like there had been no change in the guard whatsoever.  As such, the company agreed to reward him with a raise. 
            The following day when he arrived, shivering from the ride in—it was a cold, wet day that warranted a taped garbage bag over the open window—I greeted him at the door with the news.
            “Hey man, thanks, that’s great,” he said in an oddly flat way. 
            “Is everything alright?” I asked.
            “Yeah, but you know the more I think about it,” he said, scratching his balding, red head, “well you know the new guy Jack, man he’s doing a great job and he’s nowhere near what I’m making so I’d like to share my raise with him if there’s nothing for him.”
            “Okay,” I replied, “I’ll relay that to management.”

            It turned out that they both got raises, the night crew took care of their business, and besides running into each other in the hallway every now and then, we probably didn’t think about each other much.  “What’s going on?” I’d ask, and invariably they’d answer, “Not much.”  But one day I walked into the dispatch room to find Matt with his head down on a desk.  His head immediately popped up and, grinning, he said, “Don’t worry, I’m on my lunch.”  He looked tired, heavy bags around his eyes.
            A few hours later we bumped into each other again.  “Man,” he said, “I had the strangest dream last night.”
            “Yeah, my grandma was there and she gave me the numbers to the lottery.  I played them and won—twice.  She told me to donate some of the money to St. William’s Church, but then I lost them.”
            “Sounds like a dream I would have,” I said.
            “Yeah, but it was so real.”

            Hey Jamie, this is Matt Overville; I’m calling about my account.  I know I’m not crazy.  I had two tickets that day.  I gave one to Will Cartel for his brother.  You’re not going to get away with it, people are gonna stand up.  That money was given to me by my Grandma to do good.  I had two tickets that day; I don’t know why I forgot.  That money was directed to me from above, it was supposed to go in my family; I have four kids, an ex-wife and they have no housing.  I’m begging you, I’m thinkin’ you might be a part of this.  Please don’t let greed—or whatever— take you.  I ask you for your help.  You won’t get away with it, ‘cause it will be proven.

            I got a call early the next morning from the President and co-owner of the company, Marsha Madigan.  “You’re not going to believe this, but Mike Overville just called our accountant and threatened her.”
            “With what?”
            “I don’t know, yesterday he asked me for her number.  I thought he had a question about his paycheck, so I gave it to him.  Apparently, he’s convinced he won the lottery and that someone has his ticket.”
            “Yeah, you know how he tends to avoid me?  Well, yesterday he came into my office and asked me if I had his ticket.  I thought he was joking, so I chased him out.”
            Marsha Madigan had inherited her half of the Con-Fab Trucking Company from her father, along with the headache of dealing with its various employees.  The former role she relished, the latter she generally made clear she could do without.
            “That’s fucked up,” I said.  “That shift is like the goddamn hotel in The Shining, I tell you.  What are we going to do?”
            “I don’t know, you better get in here.”

            By the time I arrived a group had already convened in Marsha Madigan’s office.  Jared Geitner, the warehouse manager, who happened to be Matt’s brother-in-law, was there.  As was Terry Ramirez, an order picker who also rented him a room.  We finally wrestled it out of them that Matt had been going on for over a week about the purported winning ticket.  The warehouse manager hadn’t felt the need to mention it because Matt had still been doing a good job and, truth be told, he was always a bit quirky.  Well, the cat was out of the bag now, and Terry Ramirez had had enough the past few days, he was kicking him out.  After all, he had two kids that didn’t need to be subjected to his madness.
            The onus, then, was on the President and I to figure out what to do.  After deliberation, it was decided that he would be suspended until he sought some professional help. 
            Marsha had access to someone in the field that she trusted, so she called her for an appointment.  The earliest she could see Matt was Tuesday; this was Friday. 
            She dialed his company cell.  I listened as she calmly explained the situation: that his job was secure so long as he got help, that not only would the company pay for his therapy, but Marsha Madigan herself would drive him there.
            She listened for a moment as he said something.  “Matt, let me ask you, why on earth would you give me your winning lottery ticket to hold?”
            She quieted again, this time rolling her eyes.  “I’ll call you first thing on Tuesday, Matt; in the meantime, I want you to rest.”
            After hanging up, I asked how he answered her question.
            “He said he gave it to me to hold onto because I was already wealthy.  It wouldn’t mean as much to me.  Little does he know I got sixty-five bucks in my checking.”

            Will Cartel enjoyed having lunch at home.  A truck driver by profession, it was rare he could sit at his own table and eat a sandwich.  He relished the weekends for that very reason.
            He thought about not answering the phone before putting down his turkey sandwich.  “Hello,” he said.
            “Hello yeah, is this the Will Cartel that works for Con-Fab Trucking?”
            “Yes, it is.”
            “Will, this is Matt Overville from work.  I hate to bother you at home but I was wonderin’ if you found my ticket?”
            The driver of course was immediately confused.  Even more so because his brother Dan had recently passed away and there had been a benefit at the Church for him, which had involved a ticket raffle.  The event had been a great success, the pot reaching in the thousands.
            Thus, it took quite some time before Will realized Matt wasn’t talking about any such thing.  “Matt,” he said finally, “I haven’t seen your ticket.  You must of given it to someone else, I’m afraid.”
            “I understand,” he replied.  “Actually, I think I may have confused you with the driver that has the white hair.”
            “You mean Danny Kelley?”
            Then the line went dead.
            Jamie Murphy was a recent Con-Fab hire that worked only one day a week as the company accountant.  She had two kids and little patience for threats, however innocuous or vague.  Since his first call, she had researched Matt’s record online and was disturbed to find that he had two previous counts of domestic violence, and one for narcotics.  It was upon finding this out that she vowed to call the police if he called again. 
            Early afternoon that Saturday, her phone rang.  She didn’t recognize the number but answered anyway.
            “Jamie, please don’t hang up.  I’m just calling to ask you to reconsider what you’re doin’ to me and my family.”
            “I don’t have you’re ticket, Matt.  If I did, I promise you I’d be the first to be asking questions.  I want you to believe me, Matt.  Do you?”
            “No,” he said.  There was a pause, then: “Listen, I’m not threatening you but Jamie there are some people that want to talk to you here.  You do have loved ones at St. Joseph’s, don’t you?”
            “No, Matt, I don’t.  I moved here from South Carolina, I don’t have any family here.”
            “Oh, I thought you did,” he said.
            When the police arrived, they very quickly traced the number to a pay phone near the cemetery.  Still, they were hard pressed to do anything about it, as he really hadn’t done anything.  The best she could do, they advised, was file a restraining order, adding, “And you know how effective that can be....”

            That Monday there was a tumult in the offices as one of the secretaries spied Matt Overville’s car speed into the lot.  I watched from with the window as Jared—the warehouse manager and his brother-in-law—ran out after him, firmly pointing the way back.  “I know she has it!” I could read his lips as he yelled from his car, his head sticking out from where his window should be.  “I know someone has it!” he yelled one final time before doing a U-turn and barreling away.

            A few hours later, Jared found himself with another despicable task to perform: he had to call his boss as she commuted home, with some relatively dire news.  His brother-in-law had mentioned to one of his family members that he was going to search for her house.  It was common knowledge what town she lived in, and it wasn’t a very large one.  He had also mentioned something about acquiring a firearm.  Marsha Madigan, it was decided, would alert the police, and Matt’s family would turn to the probate court in order to get him committed as soon as possible.  Things had come to that, clearly.
            No one would sleep well.

            That next morning, the police had no trouble finding Matt Overville.   His car—windowless, the backseat packed with plastic bottles and fast-food bags—was parked outside St. Joseph’s cemetery.  As expected, he wasn’t far from it.  Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Marsha Madigan was readying herself for work.  She stood in front of her vanity, securing the clamp on a tasteful but sparkly bracelet.  “I wish I could take the Escalade instead of the Caravan,” she said to her nearby husband.  “Christ, I’m forty-one years old and I can’t drive what I want to work.”  She held the bracelet up to the light. “Do you think I’ll ever?” she asked.