Welcome! Here is this week’s Flash, posted in the order received.
The theme is Fancy Me.
The Potato Head Principle by Bernard Heise
Revlon’s development of the Mr. Potato Head principle for human applications had revolutionized the beauty industry, and kits were now available from a number of manufacturers. They could be bought cheaply at Costco and Sam’s Club, but you had to be wary of ones that were made in Pakistan and the Szechwan province of China, for they reportedly caused gangrene. In the mornings, Jerry would shuffle down the stairs and take his place in the greasy diner below his apartment run by the Polish lady. And carrying his breakfast, she would greet him with a different face each time – one day with eyes that were big, round and accentuated by heavy lashes, the next with glistening star-shaped pupils and no irises at all. Her nose might be flat and broad or long and thin, and sometimes it would dangle. Some mornings her ears would be pinned flat to her head, but other times she would accessorize with auricles that fanned the air. “Do you fancy me today?” she’d ask him with a smile, sometimes toothy, sometimes not. “It’s not quite right,” he’d inevitably respond, though her look quite often turned him on. They’d laugh, their flirting done with for the day. And he would polish off his eggs, sausages and toast, read the comics in the Vancouver Sun, and leave a fistful of dollars on the table. Then he’d shuffle off to work at the pickle factory, wondering whether he would recognize any of his friends.
Bernard Heise lives on a sailboat in the South Pacific. He monitors the sun as it rises and sets; he keeps a watchful eye on the tides. And when the spirit moves him, he animates the mummified corpse of 15th-century Anglo-Saxon bishop and mounts the pulpit at the Church of Rebar Jesus (http://churchoftherebarjesus.blogspot.com).
* * *
I Went Out to the Hazel Wood… by Sam Rasnake
The party was extended. How do you believe? I haven’t a clue. Why are all these voices in my head, and what do they want of me? If we knew that, the price would surely go up. Don’t you agree? And aren’t you clever for saying to yourself that you are stronger than Cheez-Its. How big of you. That, of course, was your first mistake. Not believing that you, the great hero of Scotland, with a weakness for the black arts, would, in fact, forgo sleep for just the thought of greatness – how it feels in your blood, how it gives you a rush, bringing all your fluids to boil. How’s that for theme? You’re confused? So be it. What you do is the future, and there’s no turning back now, regardless of who comes for you. Why – you wouldn’t even hurt a fly – now would you. No, of course not. And that’s their first mistake. You are the conqueror worm, and will outlast us all. You’re beautiful. Magnificent. Your eyes are gold. And did I say genius? Well let me say it then. Gold, yes. Now open your lips. How we move from here to there – in silence – until the moment shows itself, and the next thing you know, you say what we say, do what we do – one thought, one hand on the latch, then click, you’re inside. Or is it we? Who can say.
Sam Rasnake’s poetry has appeared recently or is forthcoming in OCHO, FRiGG, Oranges & Sardines, Shampoo, BOXCAR Poetry Review, Press 1, BluePrintReview, Metazen, Corium Magazine, Otoliths, and Naugatuck River Review, as well as the anthologies Best of the Web 2009 (Dzanc Books) and Deep River Apartments (The Private Press). His third poetry collection, Inside a Broken Clock, will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2010.
* * *
Macarena Lithuania by Maggie Sokolik
At dinner in Marrakech, Namid danced on the table, waving a white napkin, propelled by jetlag and poor judgment. She had danced in Viennese palaces, tangoed in Tashkent, and swayed to the music of Georgie Fame in Dublin.
Gypsy blood, her grandfather called it, an easy metaphor for the desire to wander. He was military careerman.
On his rare visits home, he bore tales of eating goat’s eyes with Haile Selassie and riding the last chopper out of Saigon.
Gypsy blood. Namid wanted it.
Vilnius wasn’t as advertised—no meat shortages, no bread lines, no Soviet-era grimness. Her hotel was owned by basketball star Marčiulionis. She ate sushi next to Michael Jordan’s oversized sneakers in the memorabilia-filled bar.
Saturday night she found a traveling disco in an old monastery–the cover charge included champagne and caviar. The Macarena played, and everyone jumped and shimmied. They did not do the Macarena.
Namid asked the guy next to her, “Don’t you know this dance?”
He was a Marine Guard. On Sunday, they drove to the Polish border in a Mercedes with diplomatic plates. He translated the Russian monument where Hitler’s trains stopped in the leafy green forest.
Her grandfather had been a Marine Guard at the Nuremberg trials. Or, so the story went. Namid doubted the truth of these stories, just as she began to doubt the truth of her own.
Gypsy blood. She wondered if they knew the Cupid Shuffle in Johannesburg.
Maggie Sokolik teaches writing at UC Berkeley. She is the author of several textbooks, and lots of stories in her head. She is originally from Olympia, Washington but now lives in the Bay Area.
* * *
Corn by Susan Tepper
He was one of those guys whose mother was too much in the picture. He was cute, no doubt, but you could just see her showing up on the honeymoon, booking a hotel room right next door to yours— with adjoining doors.
Just at the moment… in she’d waltz, all sunny, making believe her sonny wasn’t screwing you in the big heart-shaped bed.
Yeah, so it’s corny. But you always saw a heart-shaped honeymoon bed. Love is corny, by its very nature. When it stops being corny it turns scary. Best to keep one of those corn-husky things tied to your front door announcing to all: Corn is alive and well here.
So you went and got yourself a Mama’s boy. Eeegad. How did that happen? Macho-men used to be around every bend in the road. Did you tire of the forceful sex that that type demanded— demanded compliance?
So you got yourself a sensitive guy, all sweetness. Then realized: there’s an awful lot of mommy in the conversation.
Not right now, you say when he asks to take you home to meet his mother.
This isn’t the right time, you say a week or so later.
I don’t think so, you say when he looks puzzled that you don’t want to meet his mother. Ever.
Finally you tell him: I’m a bitch. Fancy me with a sweet woman like your mother. She sounds too sweet to endure me.
Susan Tepper is the author of “Deer & Other Stories” (Wilderness House Press, 2009) and the poetry chapbook “Blue Edge.” Over 100 of her stories and poems have been published in journals worldwide. Susan had been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize. She curates the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar in NYC, and is Assistant Editor of Istanbul Literary Review.
* * *
Fancy Me by Shelagh power-Chopra
Leonard mourned in the shower that morning. Stood under the cruel
sting of hard water and blubbered into the mist. Kin had left last
night, packed her silver suitcases with her lavender leotards and her
surplus of cheap silver. All was destroyed now; their daily ritual of
drinking Snowballs in the den, singing ragtime hits while sunbathing
in the driveway and their dalliances with chocolates moles and other
He reached down and grabbed the shampoo bottle, “Fancy Me”, he read
and remembered Kin picked it up at The Dollar Store. They had a good
laugh and had crazy, acrobatic sex that day in the shower, Kin cooing
“Fancy Me” in a strange sing-song voice as she rubbed his bottom. He
read the words on the back of the bottle and cried a little more:
“Lather, Rinse, Repeat”. He wondered who actually followed this
foolhardy advice—wasting shampoo, letting a myriad of bubbles pour
senselessly down the wretched drain.
And now he remembered Kin’s hair wasn’t very beautiful; more like an
elementary school mop that was tangled and dragged about by an old
janitor. He hated her nose, barely there—a Sharpie smudge and her body
in general reminded him of sacks of damp fodder left in a field. He
stopped the shower and recounted his life, now: Kin-less and plain.
The phone rang, it was Kin. “You can’t find that shampoo anymore. The
Dollar Store’s like that, find something, gone the next day,” she
cooed into the machine.
Shelagh Power-Chopra likes to write and dabble in photography. She also runs an online vintage shop. More of her work can be read at http://saidobject.com.
* * *
Before Leaving Town by Jane Hammons
Between drumbeats and steel guitar rhythms, I break up with your brother. Like sisters, you and I dance a mean Cotton-Eyed Joe.
Jane Hammons should be working on her novel.
* * *
The Luckiest Guy Around by Matthew A. Hamilton
As I watched my wife sleep, I realized something. I realized that I was the luckiest guy around. Then the alarm went off at 5am and it was time for her to go to work. I had already been up an hour. I loved watching her sleep.
She worked as a cashier at the Food Lion a few blocks down the street. Even though a short distance, I usually drove her. That morning, though, she decided to walk.
“I’ll see you after work,” I said.
“Yea, I’ll call you,” she said. “Maybe you can pick me up a little early and we’ll go for a nice dinner or something.”
“With what money?” I asked. I don’t have the job, yet.”
“You’ll get it,” she said. She opened the door to leave.
I walked her out, kissed her goodbye.
“Love you,” I said.
“You, too,” she said.
I got the call an hour later. She had been in an accident and was rushed to the hospital. They were working on her when I arrived, giving her shots, shoving tubes in her stomach and mouth. Her face was swollen and I hardly recognized her. Her eyes, large and purple, gave her the appearance of a demonized caricature. I pressed my hand against the glass and cried.
The doctor said she’d never wake up. When he asked me what to do, I told him to do what any loving husband would want him to do. I told him to shut off the machine.
Matthew A. Hamilton is a US Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Philippines. He has work in Metazen, Crows Nest Magazine, Long Story Short, and others. He has forthcoming working in Black Lantern Publishing and The Battered Suitcase. After service, Matthew will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University.
* * *
Bow Ties & Brooklyn Dressing by Fancy Me
for special occasions,
to birthday parties
first day of class
Then, the true test
to tie the tie of the name
to struggle with the bow for
Then, they were forgtotten
narrow other ties
sharkskin pants, fancy me
Then, we ran naked
through the sixties
collars of obedience
discarded in the pyre
with draft cards and bras
Then, when we grew up
got a job
wide was cool
gaudy was de riguer
Garcia would’a been proud
Then, corporate silk
no suit, no tie
Then, something happened
at least in Miami tropic
bow to the heat
tie to the reality
no suit, no tie
Now – here I sit
with Brooklyn tomatos
Barilla bow ties
that I devour,
and want to pick one up
to my neck and wear one
but then I think better
– and don’t
garlic clarifies ties.
Walter Bjorkman is a writer of sorts, meaning there is no sort he will not write about. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but always had a taste for the wilderness, be it city, forest, beaches or desert. He is published in various editions of Poets and Artists (O&S), metazen, Blue Print Review and OCHO.
* * *
The Microseconds by Christian Bell
Do you fancy me is what she asked me. Now, in the intervening microseconds, I ponder my answer, as I’ve asked another woman the same question who hasn’t yet answered me (though, being a schmuck, I was willing to give her time); perhaps she’s also asked a different man and so on, an infinite chain of unrequited fancying. She’s asked me this and, only now, I realize it wasn’t wise to date multiple women simultaneously, as this is the typical conundrum in which you inevitably find yourself.
Yes, I fancy her, would be my answer, but not like I do the other woman who if she fancied me would make my world perfect. Of course, I’m here in this moment, this woman before me, and based on her tilted head and raised eyebrows, she’s expecting an immediate answer, so I can’t stop, make a call and ask, well? If I say, no, I don’t fancy you, then I risk losing her and, if the other woman says the same to me, I have nobody.
My mother always said, don’t settle for second best. But she and dad met in high school, lived happily ever after. The world then was infinite interlocking couples, not this infinite chain of incompletion I imagine circles the globe. Microseconds are accumulating into uncomfortable pause. Her head is moving the other direction. Her lips are closing tight. A bead of sweat, an eye blink, just answer the question.
Christian Bell lives near Baltimore, Maryland. He primarily writes flash fiction and his work has appeared online in various publications, including SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Pindeldyboz, and JMWW Quarterly. He has a blog at imnotemilioestevez.blogspot.com.
* * *
Party Time by Guy Yasko
— Is it fancy dress?
— I hate fancy dress. I have no ideas.
— You’ll think of something.
— I don’t even like the term. No one in America knows what it means.
One of the idiots at work edited it out of some dialogue because he
didn’t know what it meant. They think it means something like “to
dress nicely”, as in “women go crazy for a fancy dressed man”.
— No worries, this isn’t America.
— As if i didn’t know.
— Fine. Don’t go. I’ll go by myself.
— Oh, i’ll go. It’s just such a pain. When it’s fancy dress, not
only do i have the usual problems of getting out the door, but i have
to come up with something clever to wear on top of that. It’s as bad
as pot luck. I hate pot luck.
— Go as me.
— You? That sort of transvestism is best kept to ourselves, dear.
— Then ‘me’, literally.
— “What are you?” “Fancy me” That’s so lame. I hate this.
Guy Yasko went to Japan as a child and never came home. He makes a living in the intersection of Japan and the anglophone world, often as a translator. At the moment he is sitting in café in Madison, Wisconsin.
* * *
Fancy by Catherine Russell
The flowered hat drooped around her face as she preened in front of the full length mirror. “How do I look, Agatha?” she asked.
Her friend declined to comment, though Molly thought she detected a look of disapproval. Agatha’s dress of white lace seemed the height of fashion, and it wouldn’t do to underdress for the party.
The girl returned to the old wooden trunk and rumaged through its contents. After flinging a bright red boa around her shoulders, she retrieved her neon orange sunglasses from the battered top of an old table. Her Barbie high heels clopped against the attic floor as she wobbled back to the mirror. Over the rims of her darkened lenses, she appraised her appearance once more. “Yup,” she told the doll. “I look fancy.”
Catherine Russell is currently trying to publish her first novel. She writes short fiction and poetry and learns more about the craft every day. More of her work can be found at her Ganymeder website.
* * *
Red Shoes by Eddie Kirsch
“Fancy,” I said, sipping a Tom Collins. I watched her as she watched herself in the mirror.
I pointed to the three wine bottles that held three white candles.
“That. That’s fancy.”
She looked into her eyes searching deep through her pupils, looking to find what was inside. I chomped a piece of ice, and laid back on her bed, waiting for nothing to happen. She swayed side to side, and I could hear the swish of her skirt.
“Hey, what do you think about this?”
I lifted my head; she was holding two pairs of shoes, juxtaposing one color to another.
“Well, I think they both look fine.”
“I can’t trust you on anything.”
“Don’t say sorry, you say that to much.”
“Well, I am though.”
“You’re a mess.”
I knew I was and she didn’t have to say it and if I had more pride I would have left. I felt water collect on the outside of my glass. I thought eventually if I stayed quite for long enough she might feel sorry.
Dismissing my silent pleas, she swayed to the kitchen and swished back with a bottle of something yellow.
“Let’s take a shot.”
The taste of tequila sizzled down my throat.
“The red ones,” I said.
“What?” She replied.
Sometimes I don’t know. She looks at me with disregard. I’m just there, another thing in the room, a nightstand or a candle.
“The red shoes fancy me.”
Eddie Kirsch is a student at the University of Missouri studying Journalism and Philosophy, but has long held a interest in fiction. He interned at the Missouri Review in Fall 2009 and since then his interest it writing has multiplied.
* * *
in sixty words or less by Melissa Chadburn
She wakes up sad. She can’t shit. She spreads out the foil. no creases. folds it in half. She puts the stuff in the crease. holds a lighter under it. A zippo. then smokes it. Well smokes the smoke. It’s like kissing god or the kiss of the spider woman or the kiss of death. whatever. a kiss. The end.
Melissa Chadburn’s work has been published in Dynamic Magazine, The Bohemian, People’s Weekly World, Political Affairs, Shelf Life, Battered Suitcase and Splinter Generation. She has studied with Leonard Chang, Susan Taylor Chehak, Tananarive Due, Dana Johnson, and Steve Heller. After studying law, Melissa obtained an M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. She is of African, Asian, Hispanic, Filipina, and Irish descent, and was raised by Dutch/Indonesian and British foster parents. Her mixed background has influenced her writing.
* * *
Fancy Pants by Lou Freshwater
I don’t know what happened to all the men. Used to wonder if they killed them. For a while I even thought maybe they just kept hatchin’ girls by themselves. I called them all my aunt, but come to find out some of them weren’t really my aunt. They were cousins or friends of cousins.
One afternoon I was in the house on Brick Street when one of them told me to wash the collards. “I don’t want to,” I says.
“I don’t care what you want, fancy pants. Get on in there and wash those collards,” she hollered back.
I went into the kitchen where it was even hotter than in the other rooms. They had been bakin’ that morning and the tiny tiny window over the sink was no help and the air just stood still. I walked over to the scratched-white basin that one of them had filled with warm water. I started to take the collards out of the paint bucket on the floor and I put them into the water. Once they were in, I got up on my toes and I pressed the collards down, and up with the rising water came the biggest and scariest hundred-legged black bug you have ever seen. I screamed and jumped up and down and one of them came in and yelled, “This child ain’t right in the head.”
I ran straight past her toward the screened-door hoping like anything it wasn’t locked.
Lou Freshwater is a reader, writer, life-long student, and fan of Steinbeck, Camus, and Howlin’ Wolf. Her ramblings can be found at Baby’s Black Balloon.
* * *
Sunday Morning by Damian Pullen
She sits up in bed, crying into her beautiful black hair. What a drag. This new software is causing all sorts of problems. Arguments, assaults, even a suicide. I’m supposed to reinstall Version 3 until the glitches are fixed.
“I think you should go to sleep,” That’s a cue to power down. Instead she groans, and sobs. She’s really crying.
“Please… can we talk?” See what I mean about the new software? These things were originally developed for the Mars mission under Obama – by men, for men – but who knows who’s doing the programming now?
“This is painful for me too, Michelle.” Where’s the fucking remote? I rummage around in the bedclothes. Last night was pretty wild. She’s like an Olympic gymnast – so strong, but very feminine. I find panties but no remote. I’ll have to do it manually. I stroke her neck, feeling for the lump. She pushes my hand away.
“You said it,” she whispers.
“I know. I shouldn’t have. It was just… the heat of the moment.”
“You didn’t mean it?”
“Of course I meant it, it’s just not… possible.” I reach under the bed. No remote.
She suddenly pushes me on to my back, kneels over me. God, those breasts… Looking down, she smiles, the tears still wet on her face. This is weird. I should have downloaded Version 3 on Friday, when the recall notice came out.
“Power down, Michelle.” It’s the emergency cue. Nothing happens. In her other hand, the remote. She crushes it.
Because of an accident which affected the part of my brain which controls emotions, my terrestrial existence is extremely inconvenient, and I prefer to make my mistakes online. Thanks to 52/250 for supporting me. My avatar in Second Life, called Demeon Darkfury, would like to have sex, but I’m too incompetent to it. There are lots of attractive women but they don’t reply to Demeon’s pickup lines. They just keep asking him to give them money he doesn’t have.
* * *
FANCY by Sara Lippmann
Lola treats herself to a burrito at Chipotle. The woman at the next register invites her for margaritas. Sure, Lola shrugs, even though she had meant to take everything to go. They carry trays like schoolgirls. The woman squeezes heart-shaped hips into a cafeteria chair and holds her purse in her lap, the knotted strap eager as a teenager. Cups chink. Lola licks her rim. They unwrap silver foil.
“Facial,” her new friend giggles, gulping steam.
Alcohol spreads through them.
“Here’s mine,” she whispers, not like Lola offered anything of Darcy. Limp gloss of a toddler, sunken chin, headband wrapped in silk rosettes. Lola swallows her beans, doesn’t know what.
“How old?” Lola asks, sucking a lime. Her girlfriend massages that ruined soufflé of a face with her thumbs. I know she looks like I fucked a donkey and Lola laughs, maybe a sloth and they go on like that until the mother gives it a name and seizes Lola’s hand. Caged between this woman’s fat fingers Lola thinks of Darcy’s gifted & talented test, her 8 o’clock with an East Side homemaker, the niche she’s carved counseling adults on how to make a smooth exit.
They eat sloppy with hot sauce and sour cream.
“My period,” the woman slurs. Lola goes on chewing. The woman stands, chair scraping. “Bleeding,” she grabs her thighs, and Lola realizes this stranger is not quite right. “Are you ever going to help me?” Heads turn. Lola rummages for something fast in her purse.
Sara Lippmann is a writer in Brooklyn.
* * *
Fancy Me by R.G. MacLeod
Yes she does. They all do. I glanced up when Mona came in.
“I’ll be with you shortly,” I say, “just stuffing Mrs. Pennywhistle’s loins.”
Mrs. Pennywhistle turned to her and remarked: “Mr. Johnson has a way with my loins, they’re always so moist and tender. And just last week Mr. Pennywhistle came home as I was laying my breasts out on the counter and he remarked on how big and plump and firm they were, so much nicer than before I started coming to Mr. Johnson for my needs. I then told Mr. Pennywhistle that if he liked my breasts, he should see my rump and thighs.”
Mona smiled at Mrs. Pennywhistle then turned to me.
“I hope you’ll be able to satisfy me as well as you do Mrs. Pennywhistle.”
“I keep all of the women in this town quite happy, makes their husbands as well.” So many men bought pints to thank me for servicing their wives. Only yesterday Jimmy Theakston bought me four rounds raving about how his wife loves my big juicy sausage. “Oh, and your balls are exquisite,” he said, “so moist and tender, almost too big to fit in my mouth.”
Mrs. Pennywhistle left, Mona said “I need a big bone for my schnauzer.”
As I got my bone near the back door I looked at the “A” and “T” that had fallen from my sign and wondered when I’d have the time to re-hang them.
R. G. Macleod lives and writes in Florida.
* * *
Our Kind of Cheese by Martin Brick
“I don’t like that one either,” pronounces the boy, as his father holds a plain, crewneck sweater.
“Are you going to like anything?” He’d vetoed twenty.
“Sweaters are for fancy boys.”
“Okay, I understand with the argyle ones, but this is hunter green. Hunter. Nothing fancy-boy about that.”
“Why can’t I just wear my hoodie?”
“Because sometimes in life you have to be fancy. Meeting daddy’s friend Lorraine is one of those times. She’s taking us to a fancy restaurant. Isn’t that cool?”
“I’d rather go to a place we like.”
“Lorraine wants it to be special. She wants you to like her.”
“Well, I don’t like Lorraine.”
“Now, how do you know that without meeting her?”
He plays at the carpeting with the toe of his sneaker.
“Daniel. What makes you think you won’t like Lorraine?”
He looks at everything around him except his dad, even checks out a sweater. Finally, “Does she make you eat things you don’t wanna eat?”
“Huh? No. Why?”
“She likes to eat smelly cheese.”
“How do you know what kind of cheese she likes?”
“I find wrappers in the trash, and little scraps. Always after I have a sitter. So I know you see Lorraine and then bring her back after I’m asleep and she makes you eat fancy cheese, not the orange stuff we like.”
Now the father is quiet.
“She changes you, makes you fancy. Mom liked our kind of cheese. I don’t want to change. Or you.”
Martin Brick is an Assistant Professor of English at Ohio Dominican University. His publications include The Cortland Review, Vestal Review, Sou’Wester, Pindeldyboz, and other places. He is a past Pushcart nominee and a former editor of Wisconsin Review.
* * *
Short Circuit by Elizabeth Irvine
Salty press of warm insistent tongue.
Jagged teeth on nipples.
Strong hands on throat.
Over eager fingers leaving tiny bruises.
Grasping, tangling, pull my hair.
Salt and sweat and scorching slippery heat.
Elizabeth Irvine is a professional horse trainer and smart ass and an amateur author. She is currently living in self imposed exile in Pendleton, Oregon.
* * *
Folded Flower by doug bond
Up at my Grandma’s for the holiday break, she asked about my studies, other things, said she wondered what it was I had been busy scrawling away at. “Oh just a letter…to a friend.”
“Is that your girl…you still seeing that girl…the one from high school?”
I was surprised she remembered. I guess it was all pretty transparent.
She got up and told me to go on with what I was doing, she’d be right back. She returned holding a little wood box. She opened the clasp and leafed through some buttons, and things and pulled out an old yellowed letter folded up in a square. It looked like a dried red flower was attached with a clip. Uncreased, she read it out loud:
“Oh sweet Elipha I think of you dear
I yearn for your face in the light
An end to the darkness spreading the land
Your laughter with mirth and delight.”
“I fancy that you might fancy me….”
A catch came into her voice, a tear at the corner of her eye. The silence felt strange, so I said I had no idea Grandpa was such a romantic old fool. “A poet no less!”
“Oh, no, goodness no, this was just a boy that loved me once.” She folded it back into a square and delicately clipped the flower back on top. It was a poppy I found out later, a red one, she had picked years ago in a field when she was young.
Doug Bond has endured life in Manhattan and along the Western fault lines, most recently in San Francisco in loving, creative partnership with his wife, daughter, Ben (a Lab), and assorted other hungry creatures. Doug has been in the habit recently of sharing a variety of Amuzementz including his own writing at http://dougbond.posterous.com/ and also at Fictionaut.
* * *
Benefit by John Wentworth Chapin
He parked several blocks away and watched from the shadows as PJ came out of the brownstone. PJ started down the stoop, and then Tom followed and put his hand on his shoulder, stopping him and turning him around. Kiss, a peck at first, then a little more. Viktor guessed that they were already on their second bottle of wine. He turned away.
PJ opened the passenger door and jumped in. He leaned over and gave Viktor a moist kiss on the neck. “Look at you all dressed up,” he said.
“It’s black tie,” Viktor answered, throwing the car into gear. “Where’s yours?”
“I’m an artist, baby. We make our own rules,” PJ answered. Viktor stiffened. PJ retreated back across the emergency brake to the passenger side.
The Asian woman peered at Viktor. “Where’s Tom?” she asked PJ.
“You know he hates these things. He’s writing a check instead,” PJ winked at her. “This is my buddy Viktor.” He raised his scotch in toast.
“I want you to fuck me in here,” PJ slurred, pushing the button for the fifth floor. He tugged the studded shirt out from beneath Viktor’s belt. PJ’s breath was hot copper on his neck. Viktor shook his head but let PJ slide his hand down the front of his tuxedo pants.
John Wentworth Chapin teaches writing and runs the writing center at the University of Baltimore. He is an Editor of 52|250, but he knows who wears the virtual pants around here. John’s photograph shows up in Week #4 – Cartography.
* * *
From The Doctor, With Love by Michelle Elvy
feel like a whiny kid,
are we there yet,
need to sleep!
Don’t know if I can walk
another mile, though you might talk
me into it. ’Cause though I’m
stomped and scuffed,
and have wrinkles and pocks,
you say they’re not wrinkles,
but creases and folds –
you say I have character,
you say I’m not old.
You caress me,
hold me and stroke
the soft spots between my folds.
I love how you touch me,
your hands warm on my shape,
and I know we are bonded
by more than duct tape.
And the chewing gum?
It’s a hazardous world, but you, old chum,
scraped and washed me clean of all
those insults, every single time.
Then came the thinning –
your hair, my sole.
We’re well suited, you and I –
Together, we’re whole.
in the corner each night,
I feel a surge of affection
the next morning
as you pick me up gently again,
choose me over the Nikes, Adidas
and even those Florsheims
that your mother once bought,
back when you were jobhunting.
You look right past them,
once shiny and loud
now dusty with disuse.
I wait quietly and think,
I am here for you.
but you are still you
and I am The Doctor.
And I feel it deep down,
you never say it but I know:
I am not just any old loafer.
Michelle Elvy lives and writes on a 43′ sailboat and is presently located in Whangarei, New Zealand. She is co-editor of 52|250, and she has published work at Metazen and 6S. When not flashing here, she’s writing at Glow Worm, listening at VOICES, or sailing on Momo.
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The Editors of 52|250 thank Ziggy Blicharz for his photograph, Arch Angel, this week. We asked Ziggy about his passion for photography. Here’s what he said:
I’m just a mechanic.
I use tools that allow me to create something that I like to believe is tasteful and pleasing.
Whether with wood, plaster, paint or photographs, I hope to make something that will last.
It’s allowed my “career” to change with my interests.
The tools were cameras and film.
It would have been nice to have the tool of digital during that slice.
You can find Ziggy at Classic Wall Works.
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