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Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Molestation in 4 Parts

I.
Kitchen

Holding an ice cube above the sink I drilled and drilled with a steak knife into whiteness. I could not distinguish heat from cold as a child. (My uncle died a Nazi in the fields around Stalingrad. Imagine his rifle frozen, that last bit of Russian bread giving him the shits.) The steak knife a survivor, one of the set snapping in a block of cheese — fart jokes aside — and the next day I broke a pot by shaking water from its belly. I am starting to doubt modern capitalism even more these days. I am starting to shake water from my belly like a dog quivering from tail to head.

II.
Library

I read an illustrated Ginsberg book of songs denouncing the USSR and USA. The whimsical nature of the rhyme scheme struck me as inappropriate for such subject matter.
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They

Their laughter, muffled by the shield of a knotted plywood wall, escapes in sporadic bursts, a Bonnie & Clyde pairing of convoluted emotion. I, too, long for a way out of this fabricated hell, sitting atop a plastic-covered sofa in a strange living room as I trace the outline of my hand again and again. My father brings me here sometimes, on Tuesday afternoons after the zoo; or, if I’m lucky, after an all-important visit to his office, where I greedily grab as many pencils as I can hold while his secretary fusses over my darling dresses.

“She’s bright,” his secretary usually says, winking at my father while I hungrily flip through the pages of a Little Golden Book. It’s here I first learn that many women like to wink at my father — my father, striking and tall with graying temples despite an otherwise youthful appearance, who can best be described as handsome. My father, who smiles with pride and winks back. It’s at home, though, where I learn that this suggestive interchange is reserved only for them, the women who aren’t my mother. Her dance card instead is filled with loud, tempestuous arguments. Arguments where glasses and promises shatter to gleaming hardwood floors. Arguments where red-faced tears are swept quietly under Persian rugs, expensive artifacts of a marriage bound blindly together by a good salary and stoic tradition.
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I hope my cousin Barney never will read this. I write that half in jest — not because I have many cousins, none bearing the name Barney, but because my cousin Barney cannot read. However, my fears are not subdued, and I resolve to burn this page (or these pages, as it is early in the text) when I am finished. That will remove any possibility that Barney’s sister, Alice, will read him these words. Phew, writing has become easier. That writing this is easier because I am actually dictating is hogswallop.

Anyway, you (the reader, or listener in Barney’s hypothetical case) may be wondering why I resolved to burn this/these page(s) upon its/their completion. After all, poor, illiterate Barney does not even exist. However, despite Barney’s lack of existence, his sister, Alice, does exist, and therefore she could read these words to him.

Ah, the burning is moot — I’ve lost my matches.

Despite the disappearance of my matches, consternation compels me to continue writing, damning the wind and spitting into the torpedoes. That takes some guts, some might say; some might not say that. Regardless of the lack of a unified position on the gastrology of the matter, I press on. Perhaps I can dupe Barney into bringing me a book of matches. Yes, that is what must be done. Barney will be the instrumental tool in the destruction of these very words that I hope he does not read. Now, the waiting.

DAY 1
I have made the call. Despite Alice’s irate attempts to fool me into believing that she does not have a brother — much less one named Barney — and that she is my fourth-grade baby-sitter — not my cousin — I made it clear that I expect to have the matches ASAP. To which she incredulously replied, “You’re a sap.” Silly bitch.
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Hungry film by Daniel Parme

Read the write-up by The Pitt News.

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She

She blows a thin stream of smoke above my head, its grey trail narrowly missing the crown of my ponytail. Her slight, thin forearm anchors down, her fist cupped into a half moon while a lit Parliament dangles nimbly between her fingers.

“Little girls in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” she says as I slink back into my chair. It’s 1989, and we’re sitting in our kitchen, stagnant, with the occasional hum escaping from our lacquered refrigerator. My right foot finds the sweet spot under the kitchen table: a small grove in one oak leg, a softness defying the solid wood. I elevate my shin and stretch my toe into the dent. I think that if I stay like this for a while, time will freeze, and this moment will pass unscathed.

She eyes me with a look of cool contempt. We share the same green eyes and delicate jaw lines — jaws that clench often in times of defiance. When I grow older, I’ll find that we also share the same furrowed brow and smooth, veined hands.
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Glass

Someone told him that it was a looking glass, through the window panes. The door dissects her and she takes up two-thirds of the space. Crossed thin pale skin over bones used to leisure. One ballerina slippered foot points at him accusingly. The guitar mars the skin on the upper legs the skirt does not cover. Pink in the upper frame. Of course, pink.

Inside

The right thumb presses accusingly into the steel string. She’s about to lose it. Back against the wall. Head tilted back staring at the ceramic mask on the wall, Roman features. The painters become dolls suspended and the walls turn into lines of light. The edge of the guitar bites into her upper legs. Between the two dolls the man-doll moves forward, snaps a picture, and she holds it and recalls the floor.

Floor

Where Sunday’s Merlot made an emergency landing after a light salad and attempted three month vegetarian diet. Merlot, the preferred medic over sex therapy. The hair was red, yellow, blue, purple, now brown. The colors have blended so much they are like the puke on the floor.
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I’m Not Crazy

Oatmeal.

$2.79 for Quaker Oats, $0.50 less for the store brand. Seemed like a no-brainer which one I should choose. I mean, this wasn’t supermarket vodka versus Kettle One. As far as I could tell, the two products were exactly the same. So why, in the name of soluble fiber, would anyone choose the leading brand? As I pondered this, some lady pulled her cart up next to me. Apparently she saw things in much the same way, because without a moment’s hesitation she leaned over and grabbed some of the cheap stuff, then straightened up and smiled at me.

“You’d have to be crazy to get the expensive kind,” she said, nodding at the shelves. “Why waste money like that, especially the way things are now?”

Although I agreed with her, there was something about her tone that didn’t sound right to me. Uninquisitive is how I’d describe it, which was a problem because I’d always found a lack of inquisition distasteful. As she turned and put the oatmeal into a cart filled with all kinds of other knockoff products, I became motivated to articulate my opinion of her assessment.

“What do you mean, ‘You’d have to be crazy?’”

“Pardon?” she turned back from her cart, looking at me with surprised eyebrows.
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