Category Archives: Meg Tuite

Bee Branch does Ulysses by Meg Tuite

It was their monthly Ulysses meeting at Kildare’s in Bee Branch, Arkansas. Michelle, Walter, and John sat behind frosty mugs of Bud with their stained, unabridged copies of the tome in front of them. No one else was going to show up.

Michelle had been the mucilage who worked for over a month to recruit twelve brave or ignorant souls. Some joined to escape screeching kids and spouses for a night. Others hoped it was a single’s club or a dip into a steamy Danielle Steel novel – banned! After they realized, in the first few gatherings, that most were middle-aged and morose, and meetings consisted of staring blankly at each other over beer, trying to come up with the meaning for all kinds of gibberish, they quit.

Walter and John hung in there for the beer and Michelle’s company (both had a desolate crush on her) and would chime in while she scoured through her bible-sized dictionary. “Hyperborean,” Walter slurred, “Single’s night in the church basement. Hyper-borrring,” and both men snickered. “Untonsured. Yeah, a doctor yanked them out with my adenoids when I was five,” said John. “Scrotumtightening sea. Your ex’s nickname, John?” Walter tittered.

Michelle looked up from her book at these two plastered devotees. She wasn’t going home yet either. “Excuse me, while I head for the squirting dugs. And order me another stout one of you poxey bowsy‘s!” she bellowed as the two men howled. Michelle got up to hit the can.

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E-Harmony Connection #54421 by Meg Tuite

We met at The Corrale. The adrenaline was rising with his hair that puffed like a pastry every time he swept it up with his hand. I ordered Cuervo and a pina colada chaser. I was in an island disaster kind of mood.

He asked hot questions.

He was volatile, vacuous, a smile crumbled around his lips.

“Who would you rail it for, Gumby or Pokey?”

I took a swig of Cuervo.

“Pokey. No question. Got a bad rap. Gumby’s everywhere. Just because he’s politically Green?”

Zefron ordered another Kahlua. Things were plummeting in the right direction.

“If you were a whirling dervish, which way would you twirl?”

“I’d whip myself all the way back beyond infancy.” I felt something move down there, where it counts.

“Ever had a Mickey Mouse watch?”

I sighed, nodded. Zefron lifted his arm: vintage.

He grunted crackerjack love my way, flicked his tongue. Time to quit the Corrale.

E-Harmony to the 10th degree.

Green, phallic creatures were plastered all over this fruitcake’s lemon Smart car. Zefron threw me against the car, submerged me in the gorge of his pharynx. I pried myself away. “Why?”

Zefron’s eyes swung both ways. “Opposites attract. Gumby-loving groupies collude, but to crave the likes of Pokey? Exquisite.”

We were destined by chemistry and plastic figurines to give it a go. Zefron opened the door to his flaming Gumby mobile. I stuffed myself in, couldn’t wait to see what radioactive wallpaper Zefron had glowing in his pad.

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Saturday Afternoons by Meg Tuite

Oh yeah, there were fabrications up and down our pristine block. A perversion of flawless green-as-Ireland lawns, pot-bellied monoliths to dadhood grunting and sweating, pushing lawnmowers like workdays, bald spots of ruddy, brick skin all the way down past plaid shorts, hairy, yellow-tinged legs into some kind of moccasins they got for Christmas one year and squeezed their veined feet in. Back and forth they strained like chronic arthritis, listening to the Cubs losing yet another one, swearing and yelling out to each other while the wives, old china tucked away behind glass, could be glimpsed running around in those sacks they called housedresses, dusting away years of oppressive silence, except to yell out for their kids in unseasoned squeaks, “get inside for dinner,” when six o’clock rolled around and the hodgepodge of beasts would stampede down both sides of the block with baseball bats, basketballs, jump ropes and roller skates babbling in one long wailing narration of summer.

While inside our living room the tick of the clock could be heard in our heartbeats, a cough or clearing of a throat as the four of us lay like kindling around mom with five new books we each got from the library stacked up beside us. Each of us lost in a landscape, family, history unmasking itself every Saturday afternoon. Mom giving us the same answer whenever one of us asked. “I’m not the damn dictionary. Find it yourself.” And then she’d return quietly again to her own private world.

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Frost Bitten by Meg Tuite

There was an elasticity to Camilla’s arctic mouth that crunched and spit out anything anyone else said better than any ice-maker I’d ever come across. Her biting insults cut across the teeth-gritting tundra of her lips into the bulls-eye of her numbed audience’s ears like frostbite.

“Really,” Camilla would say, after I’d just come up with a great joke to impress the girl next to me who was giving me the eye. “Amazing that you can even comment on any subject, Jack, when your lack of brain cells make up for your…wait what was it?” Then her wintry whites would show through, she’d laugh, “Oh, yeah, suck down another shot of that grain alcohol you love to drown in, so the girls can find out what else you lose besides brain cells. You know, a vertical construct to work with.” Camilla would point her index finger in the air, then roar like those piercing, insufferable winds that lock-jawed my face into some kind of remote, bleak desert and I’d sit there, next to what I imagined was a sultry, soon-to-be-yours-for-at-least-a-week date, who turned quickly from torrid to frosty, now staring through me.

“Don’t bother trying to get away,” Camilla would snicker as I tried to slip another girl past her and out the door, hoping again for some steamy action. The piercing nip of Camilla’s bull-dozing blizzard blasted over me as I mumbled to myself, “Why the hell did I ever go out with that frigid beast?”

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Political Activist by Meg Tuite

She stuffed her laugh for later when she could truly enjoy it and watched Percy edging his stalk-this-useless-town Saab up next to her El Camino. What an ass! He was the only guy she knew who actually circled the neighborhoods with a boom box on top of his car canvassing; proud representative of this deathtrap town.

Thick knees were what she noticed first when his fat self twitched and wrenched itself out of the car. They were two, vast trees growing like the rest of him. She could count the belly bulges, ring by ring, exploding out of his sweaty shirt that showed how close he was to the political cord. But she had the goods on him. She had dumped his ass as soon as he unhinged his deplorable ambitions: one of many freaks she met who needed to be president and pimp.

Percy saw her standing there with her hands on her hips and a smirk on her face and grew slightly paler. He straightened his tie, shook out his trousers and tucked in his overstretched shirt. His smile spread like the whore that he was, the bullshitter opened his expansive mouth and said “Speak of the devil,” as he trudged and wheezed toward her.

“Devil,” she screwed up her face and smiled. “Now that’s sweet. Am I the one with a wife, three kids and how many girls you been doing on the side, I can’t keep up? Amazing you can still catch them.”

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Two Separate Planets by Meg Tuite

There was an apparition blooming in my throat when I saw him pull up in his rental car. We hadn’t spoken in over three years. Now he lived on another planet, somewhere in the Amazon. It hurt to watch those lanky legs lurch out of the Honda and that sexy bald head, wire rims and tan beneath it lean down to kiss me. I was hungry for the sound, the taste of him again. We’d been pressed together for months before he left like the lint now staring up at me from my black skirt, more loyal than he’d ever been.

“Let’s go to your apartment,” he looked over and shot me that smirk that had made him so popular in my bed. I started picking at my skirt while my mouth clicked something back.

When we got to my place he was already opening his suitcase and stripping off his clothes like no time had passed. Before I could say, “what the hell are you doing back,” he was throwing me down on the bed wearing those polka-dot pajama bottoms he used to live in. He clutched my wrists behind my head and started working me over. This was the planet we inhabited so well together.

“Baby,” he whispered. I was lost in my so-close-to-hitting-the-jackpot delirium. I waited for clichés of life has been hell without you. He dragged his lips away, grinned. “Got a new post in Africa. I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”

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Flash Fires by Meg Tuite

The morning was so calm. My son, Luke, and I sat at the kitchen table and watched the school bus slow down, wait, and then move off again. The grocery list was still up on the refrigerator as if it was just another damn day and I wouldn’t combust.

I drove Luke to school knowing he’d be late, but to hell with them. I was the real teacher and look where that had gotten Luke. I didn’t probe him. It had been my test, not his.

At two a.m. the night before, I had seen Luke’s flaming face hovering above me with hysteria. A sea of pain gushed open inside and absorbed me. All signs had been blinking on and off for years, but I’d refused to see them. Luke was burning away, just like me. His story was like a chain that swung back at me. He was terrorized and wasted on something that had started out so small and innocent, like that kitty we found stranded in a back alley once. But over the isolated, demented hours of night, that fun, little high had become a loose tiger that couldn’t be contained. I sat up with him through the explosive hours pushing chamomile tea, rocking him and talking softly to bring him back, while through the words my own fears ignited inside me like some acid-green aura. I was flammable and the explosives were on my ass, closing in, and now my boy was going down as well.

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