Degrees of Kevin Bacon

“Small world,” says this total stranger
in line at the grocery store
who mentions that she is friends with
my uncle’s neighbor’s doctor,
if indeed my uncle is the same guy
she was thinking of. What’s to do
with information on degrees
of association, besides to file it away?
I know a guy who knows a guy
who could transform my screenplay
into a major motion picture. A blue-chipper.
Do I try to buy this person lunch?
I’m not good with etiquette. It bites
me in the tail on occasion, not understanding
how ephemeral or how solid social connections
should be. I’ve met a woman who knows
a woman who is famous actress Glenn Close.
I respect her acting plenty, but I don’t plan
to be her buddy. That’s not how things work.
Ms. Close doesn’t owe us. Nor does actor Jason Sudeikis,
whose father had his ass kicked by my wife’s brother
way back in the day. Before Kevin Bacon
was a name or a frame of reference. Just a few degrees
between us, mighty cold degrees.

Todd Mercer’s collection Ingenue was published in Autumn of 2020 by Celery City Press. Recent work appears in The Museum of Americana, Eunoia Review and Leaves of Ink.

See more of his work in 7.2 and 3.2 and Special Flash 50/50 and 4.3

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