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T H I S    W E E K

WATERSLIDES IN AUXILIARY HOSPITAL WASHROOM by Daniel Thompson

 

Waterslides in Auxiliary Hospital Washroom

I’m on the topside of the slide. In the throat, at the threshold of revelation, making an inventory of everything I see. Mineral deposits in the sink, loud graffiti on the walls. Urinal cakes emit the chemical scent of agent-orange flowers. There’s one fogged up window, a small toilet stall and three large tubes where urinals should be, wide enough to crawl through, to sit upright, to kneel, like the ones that vent air in hospitals, rise out of the roof and bend at right angles in the open air. 

Flowing through corridors of familiar institutions. A toilet flushes in another part of the building. The sound draws nearer, impossibly close, trickling down the inside of my skull. I put my ear to the wall. Water falls along the long axis of my body and passes through the floor, dragging my bladder, seized in an uncontrollable urge to urinate. I step foot forward toward one of the tubes, tugging at my waistband in preparation of a flood.

Threading consciousness through the eye of a needle poked myself to see if I’m alive and bled; it’s the game over threat of living my final life. I can’t remember anything too specific. There’s a game we play in there. Its name incommunicable and keeps us coming back to find it. Once inside it’s easy to forget where I am. I come and go as I please, but never stay in either place for long. Commanding attention to bring information back with great effort to recall, contents of a room itemized in the dark behind eyes, before eyes, how they evolved in response to other eyes because there’s something out there watching us. Detects me beyond the threshold, across the placenta-like partition wall.

Waterslides in auxiliary hospital washroom, the janitor rushes in, tries to stop me. Wants me to pay a toll. I put my hand in my pocket. Feel the small, hard shapes of coins fizzle into non-existence like seltzer tablets. “I don’t have any money,” hands held out, palms up, universal sign for no money, but he keeps coming. Blue dickies morphing into form-fitting policeman’s blues, big black boots rapidly outstripping the size of his feet sinking into a grid of floor tiles as the room closes in, curling into n-dimensional space (anything above 4 presenting difficulties to physical objects so accustomed to occupying the more or less flat Euclidian plane) some kind of hyper-dimensional construct experiencing a break down or contradiction, as in the same matter occupying the same space. The skin of reality come peeling off to reveal the operations behind smooth exterior walls made more permeable to waves, light. The whole building, save for the roof, visible from any point inside or out, openwork steel girders bowed like the struts of a barrel or cask. While what should be the static, immovable fixtures of an institutional washroom—mirror, urinal, stall—shift with every angle of my approach, disappearing and appearing halfway up the wall and on into velvety darkness; the limit of programmable space. Blacked out to hide the deep structure of things I am used to seeing (or not seeing) here inside the box. Not even objects or shapes, just atoms, bonded in electrical night: the dark interior of a machine’s head tuned to a quiet station, nothing, not even cosmic background radiation nothing. ‘Nothing’ as far as I can conceive of nothing, but that may be something to something else, unable to raise my eyes higher than the top of the wall and the drop ceiling. 

Footsteps echo in layered delay of no-time, hard and wet; assumes a grating, industrial sound.

The janitor reaches out to grab me.

I give him the slip—slide through one of the tubes.

Pop out in the poplar grove. 

Behind the mirror is a room. A screen hanging from the roof displays the poplar grove in two-dimensional interactive computer game interface from the eighties. Something watches the screen, images of me as a stick man strolling through the knit graphics of a softwood forest. Flame leaves forever on the verge of exploding into pure colour. Tandem-walking on two legs, dragging my shadow, lagging along behind me. 

Trees thin out to a field of tall grass. I wade through with swimming motions of my arms, sweeping the ground for rocks, holes, obstacles in my path. Emerging at the edge of a precipice where I join or am joined by, ‘the teacher’. Manipulating the environment through metaphors. Parallax prospectus of mental pictures pro specere the future. Flipping through photographs held up to the sky, taken from different angles, heights, POV of a bird in flight. 

Sky spout.

Rainbow waterfalls from spout in the sky, wellspring at headwaters of cloud pitcher pouring milk through cleft columns where sky meets earth. Beading off leaves and rocks finding fissures contiguous through cracked and uneven slabs of stone. Flowing in the dark undetected until it bursts forth into the worn crease of a stream, rushing toward the heart—center of the mandala. Shared affinity with municipal drains, crossed X streams, the one taking on the burden of the other, burrowing into habitat for humanity; the dank basement of a house built into the side of the mountain. 

I feel around in the dark. The cave is dry, just the water sloshing inside my skin suit. 

Old haunts.

Nobody home. No home should be without a body and nobody without a home. Our bodies and homes are the same sort of thing. Temporary, we’re always moving on. When the second little pig moved out he bought a bundle of sticks and built a house. 

The house teeters on the edge of its foundations as if the ground will open up and swallow it. House with the false bottom, digging down; further excavations reveal damp grottos, a parking garage, a skeleton beneath the floor. No one can recapture the psychosis of that place. No one is willing to go to such lengths. Enough to scare even ghosts away. Those with a propensity for such things might call it haunted: the house that haunts the town, the house that haunts itself. A long legacy with the realty company, defunct, de-fucto heap of rubble driving down the value of houses around it, hedges raised to block it from view.

Wake up… and the tragedy that befalls me is my folly.

If I were an animal what would it be?

Sheep. I sleep, enough. Counting. It’s time. Wasted.

I want to wake up in a past locus of time, as a child crying in a twilit room, mom and dad rushing in to tell me it’s alright, that it was only a dream, not a clock or a bomb about to go off…

The radio chirps 6:30 bluebird world report Pacific-standard-time to wake-up. Snoozing through news, weather, traffic, sports. Just over one million civilians… did I hear that or was it part of a dream? I turn off the radio, but the voice is still there. Could be the stereo? No. Must be the fillings in my teeth.

I search the house, haunting, hunting for a place without reception, but it’s hard to find a spot with no signal at all. Data floating around in the cloud until I hit the right place like watching home movies of myself tottering around a destroyed room, camera shifting amoungst the rubble, solastagia in condemned homes so we can’t move out or away. A ghost with no choice of which places to haunt, magnetized to a system of leys free of hunger, disease; supplied only with what a ghost needs, to relive old memories, pine and long for in autochthonic recursion of seasons—resurging streams, recurring dreams.

I crouch in a corner beneath a tall tropical plant. 

The chattering stops, but I’m left without a voice in my head.

Just waking up? You should be hearing alarm bells.

If I am to keep this story going I will need to say a few things, otherwise I will roll over and go back to sleep. 

Our lives online, games to kill time, games about killing. Blinking, cursor, ready… now there’s a game, its name a secret. Ticket, a token, I took the ride. The stub left in my hand spelling out the last few letters of the word, the name of the game—the other half of the story.  

 

 

 

Daniel is a graduate of the Creative Writing program from Vancouver Island University. He is a reader and contributor to the Tongues of Fire reading series and has appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely, Clockwise Cat, Crack the Spine, Grey Sparrow and the Gyroscope Review. He has written several books (novels), all currently seeking publishers. He lives in Victoria, B.C.

A Life in Fruit

Part 1

Even as I knew this plant’s growth would take over my land, I couldn’t afford another year lost. Would dad prefer a land that is bare to one that is bearing fruit? Something that’s profitable and somewhat sustainable. A fruit that doesn’t require much gas to run the machines since the plants have a near self-maintenance capability. I’m really just there to water as needed and monitor when to harvest. Plus it’s such a conversation piece, every time I mention my grove I hear how it’s the ‘go-to’ fruit for headaches. So now I reduce my headache with a field that yields a crop. 

When I first brought the fruit to the farmers market, the head of the market asked if I needed a bigger tent. I told him that wasn’t necessary since I planned to make trips back to my truck. My process is to keep a tally during those trips and maybe squeeze in an extra crate or two near the back of the tent. But it’s a delicate balance since having too many together in the tent attracts ants. But it’s the price I pay to selling the sought out sweet juice. 

Maybe half would be easier to sell at a time? As recently customers appear to spend money as simply an afternoon away from the couch. I admit I fluctuate the price depending on the demographic as here they sell eggs at top shelf price, so I follow suit. But most of the consistent customers here are encouraging their well manicured kids to eat balanced, so when those small glossy eyes register the iconic shape while their parents sink their teeth into the meat, it’s a guaranteed sale. 

Maybe I should give an option for purchasing only half, to customers who aren’t family sized and simply want something to snack on during some binge worthy series. Or I should sell half as a solution for the morning-after, as it’s been told to me it’s a cure to some hangovers. I can’t confirm this fact as I avoid getting hooked on my own harvest.

The samples are hard to prepare but sometimes if a long weekend is coming up, I’ll bring one of the men from the fields to join me. He can slice one in half from a single motion making nearly no noise whereby to customers passing the tent, the silence is filled with the spray of juice and pieces of meat trickling off onto the table. It’s both artistic and catches the eye for a quick sell. I sell the pieces in a cup for a hefty price to end the day with a profit- to tip the help from a would-be afternoon with the family. It looks like it’s working as a woman is coming up with nearly no fruit.

“Do you want half or whole?” There’s no way she wants a whole one.

“I’ll take a whole one.” I smile with embarrassment and give her a good price.

Sure, when I was growing up I didn’t think one day I would be harvesting pineapples but the truth is no one knows what they’ll be doing at what point in their life. Most people are like the fruit, adaptable to the region. I’m very lucky to have stumbled on a guru of the trade when I went another year in the red, helping me change course and dodge the disapproval of my father. To have a grove that can maintain my stay in the sunny home I grew up in, paying the employee’s and the taxes, one slice at a time.

~~~

Part 2

I really should stop partying and focus on something else during my evenings. But what else would I do? Sit at home and count how many episodes- on whatever season- of whatever show I am on. To rewatch and anticipate to nearly perfect timing the delivery of witty comments. I do that enough over dinner with date number, oh god, let’s not think about that number. Fuck, I’m still dehydrated from the tenderloin. I hate ordering tenderloin, it’s one of those items that remind the date how I love meat in my mouth encouraging some lude comments. At least that’s how my recent dates have been going, the ones who have yet to figure out what it takes to land a third (most crucial) date. 

I should buy a centerpiece fruit, something that says, “she was not out late last night, it was a Thursday, how many women do you know with her caliber can go out on a Thursday?” I need a piece of fruit to speak on my behalf of all my good intentions. Something that evokes pictures of perfection. Nothing complicated like a pomegranate or symbolic to boozy brunches like the avocado, something that says, I am here to put together your life. I am strong, brave and can defend myself.

My bag looks too empty, everyone else at this farmers market has their never-limp chard or heirloom carrots. I have a few pink ladies, blood oranges and a jar of honey. One date told me how putting a spoon of honey in whiskey is the new craze, although it sounds like a cop out for those who can’t stand the strength of a good pour. Who buys eggs at a farmers market? Like how much better can they be? It’s not like we see the chickens to inspect their well manicured feet. That’s just a little over the top even for the Westside.

Mom is coming to visit during the long weekend. So I should probably buy something that’s going to keep her busy or at least something to cover her wondering eyes while she hyper analyzes my kitchen space. A kitchen to her that is lacking a proper pitcher, lazy susan tray and decorative charger but is fully stocked with mugs, bowls and spoons- I can never have too many spoons. She likes things sweet, so maybe we can blend it into a drink? Maybe if I have to find something that screams mom.

Honestly, I hate how things are going right now. I have a dumb job but with great pay, which sounds ideal but offers nothing intrinsic to my life. How many times do people say, ‘wow, that living room is so amazing, I am so impressed by the way that curtain goes with that rug.’ That never happens and it’s still the client’s choice. I simply give options surrounding their taste. I should have options, ones that are laid out like potential coffee table pairings and I simply listen to their height, width and depth. To chose one and bring home, one that is ripe and ready to be presented on my countertop. I also want that weight in my hands, to feel the pressure on the crook when I take it out of the bag. 

“Do you want half or whole?”

“I’ll take a whole one,” I say while placing the pineapple in my tote bag.

This piece is full of life in its juices and will keep questions to a minimum. A fruit to bring home and have ripen over the next few days. To leave out for potential mates and I to savor in its picturesque. Until the long weekend when mom comes to visit and is fully prepared to slice the both of us- open. 

 

 

Trista Hurley-Waxali just finished a stint living in LA for 6 years and is looking forward to her next adventure. She has performed at Avenue 50, Stories Bookstore and internationally at O’bheal in Ireland and for Helsinki Poetry Connection. She writes weird short stories and is working on her novel, At This Juncture.

Felicita

No street lamps line the streets of the town. None stands before the grocery store, or the welfare office, or any other before the Peachtree bar and poolhall.

Every turning moment comes back to this one, passing more quickly than the previous. Even on those nights that never seem to end when Felicita finds herself eying the men at the Peachtree to the door of the single-use toilet or wends them in her heels to a trashcan alley and uses her mouth.

Sometimes she is stone drunk when she has to do it.

Other times the men are too drunk or horny to notice or care to be spooked when they grip her between the legs.

And more often she just wakes up exhausted, cold and alone. Rank strands of hair iridescently cling to her forehead like strokes of seaweed to mother of pearl. Bodily she is glowing with night sweat, bedsheet oil, succubus vapor, in the nacreous 4-o-clock dwindling chill above the diner in the hiemal pre-dawn glow of this eastern night amid the sound of the dump- and sump-trucks and the smell of frying food and coffee. In that first instance of getting-up she thinks she is still in the primal cocoon of her sleeping roll in the vinyl nest of the tent at the camp for women, wanting to be lulled back to sleep with the clamoring of pans, woodchopping, water-carrying, before they found her out, before she was removed from the women’s camp.

Standing from the bed, she pulls the nightgown back down around the soft skin yeasty with sleep like just-risen dough and goes to the bathroom urinates then showers her body in the pink shell of cold blue light, the curtain pulled only halfway to, then dries off shivering, lowering and raising, cowering on the flat round mat.

There it was, if only for a brief glance in the mirror, staring her back in the glass, this one, her own.

The wind threatens to shear the open bathroom window from its frame and she closes it. Then dissolving the powder distributed from the Madriola nuclear plant around to the people in the district into half a glass of milk and scraping and clawing on whatever clothes this skirt this shirt still-warm from before the two hours of sleep are at-hand hanging on the drying rack throws on the man’s jacket from the back of the kitchen chair and is out - out! - into the icy street piercing and windwoven with low darting birds and last autumn’s brown faded leaves, sailing plastic garbage bags, bins from tree lawns timbering into sidestreets, banging against treetrunks, imperiling passing cars and the lonely early morning pedestrian traveling toward bus-stops, as the still partly risen sun begins sheaving its rays sidelong into the town turning the furrowed aluminum of house sides brooding against thrown cloud shades thrust zephyr ward, on yet another one of these early spring days racked with windblown trash and felled tree branches, with the oppositely swerving twin forces of traffic jousting one another down the exact equator of town under the bright eye of god.

Today she is off, but goes into the restaurant where her co-waitress Miranda is standing at the counter playing with the top button of her uniform blouse idling through a magazine at the patronless counter shining with disinfectant when Felicita comes in and “I need twenty dollars,” she says, “and a coffee,” crushing her red fakeleather bag on the first seat at the counter - “please,” - and sitting down begins grousing through its contents with her overlong hands and Miranda snaps her gum and fills a mug from under the counter with the carafe says “I haven’t got twenty dollars” and Felicita “How much have you got?” and Miranda skins out of her pocket two bills, a five and a one, and hands them rumpled over to Felicita and Felicita kisses Miranda and puts the money in the pocket of the man’s jacket and drinks her coffee and the doorbell chimes and a patron walks in and over to the counter and sits down and Felicita looking forward not knowing if she has taken this man to the corner of a bar or a grocery store backlot before and she finishes her coffee adjusts her lipstick at the mirror by the door and leaves.

And then is out again pummeling the pavements of these populated streets already sifting with head-lowered workers and appointment-keepers and grocery buyers threading through the windy mid-morning daze of the ascending sun.

She walks to the farm where the man who found and was also kicked out from the women’s camp works shucking pigshit and horse manure from stalls, feeding chicken baling hay splitting wood. He doesn’t see her where she stands watching in the open door of the barn his swooping back as he shovels with a pitchfork in the hay. After he sees her they wordlessly ascend to the hayloft and come back down he’s buckling his pants she’s pulling straw from her hair and putting her boots back on and he goes back to work. She watches for five ten minutes then leaves, back the way she came, towards chiller climes, she is going and not looking back, only maybe once though possibly just fixing her hair, deserter, pulling at her skirt and then is one jot dissolving into that finely-drawn stripe of muddy unglowing horizon, once more, into this other night, another dawn, a midway borealis, of anesthetic calm and marooning passed the plastics factory towards town, she goes, cast off castaway.

***

Quinn Hull was born in Cleveland, OH.  He attended Kent State University and acquired an undergraduate degree in English and a Master's of Library and Information Science.  During his time as a student he travelled and helped start the short-lived publication Flyover Country Review in Kent, Ohio. He has previously been published in Kent State's literary magazine Luna Negra, the online publication Hobo Pancakes, and Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature. The writer lives in South Euclid, OH with his parents and their five cats.  He works in a library.  He is 27.

Three Poems

i. vague body

imagining myself as a sketch of a person
messy strokes around a vague outline
the details fill out when you kiss the space
between my neck and collarbone,

they fade when the woman at the grocery store
asks if “that will be all today, sir”

i’m tired of feeling broken by language
when it is the only safe place i’ve ever known;

wrapping myself up in its coat to feel secure,
digging its fingernails into my skin to feel held

surviving on the promise
some elusive cryptographic combination
could make things right

that i could articulate the things
words don’t exist for yet;
how having a body is exhausting

people assume my problem
is that i’m a woman trapped in a man’s body
when the problem is more like,
i’m trapped in a body

to become is to break yourself apart,
i remind myself each time i leave the house

it’s supposed to hurt this much

 

 

 

ii. morning body

a banana smoothie
with a crushed up estrogen pill
for a healthy body & soul

the sunlight lingers on my skin,
i swell and expand,
fresh emergent sapling - (i can become)
something beautiful (or
maybe I already am)

but when will i burst;
i wonder

o goddess,
please let me
stay in the light

o goddess,
please carve warmth
into my transient shape

 

 

 

iii. survival body

fresh bones like a makeshift sanctuary
built on the precipice of a bottomless pit

you breathe in and out, trigger
minor earthquakes on someone else’s
disputed territory

the red rock falls from the red rock face,
vestigial memories clung tight to a cliff wall
slow-motion nosedive into whatever oblivion
sits below

years later,
you make a home from what’s left
of those disaster relics; holding tight
to the things that make you whole

 

 

 

Allison Gallagher is a writer and poet based in Sydney, Australia. Their work has appeared on i-D, Overland, Scum Mag and Moonsick, among others. They tweet at @allisongallaghr.

 

Mouthfeels


hold me softly
like the figs i stole in south berkeley-
all pudgy parabolas
dripping from branches in the low light.
milky sap slips white on my cuticles,
sentences stay asleep on my tongue
in this city,

in which
i am trying to be good
when they tell me to make roots,

in which
all day we watch the barge of memory
roped loosely above a red tide
and ask what have we done,
and ask, how do we grow,

in which
my mind is shingled in scales and filmy water
to be sloughed off by someone else who
finds bones now
in sloped links down an axis
so small.

in which
i could have heard a hymnal once,
above the barge,
while men welded near trees swollen,
the figs, the grapes,
the gentle wealth of the gold coast, their
naked limbs laid pale and humble -
you are not spineless
for feeling,
you are not spineless
for crying,
i tell you, you are soft but not
spineless
.

 

 

 

Kaleigh Spollen found her way to the west coast, where she lives, works, and sometimes writes. She likes running around the lake. Talk to her about Baltimore, she likes that too.

Gentleman Farmer from Illinois

I was 26, she was 38. 

It was off and on, but we had fun.

Her son was 12.

 

One Christmas we went to Marco Island, Gulf Coast of Florida. 

It was the three of us, her parents, her sister and her boyfriend.

They had two houses side by side near a marina where their boat was.

The second house had just the two of us.

In the morning the dolphins sang from beyond the sand...

 

Nearby were islands, shaped by mangrove trees in salty water.

Their roots capture sand and mud. 

They anchor in the soggy sandy soil, until moving water pries it loose.

Or the roots get weak.

New trees take hold while others age.

That’s how the islands shift and shape.

Some catch so much sand they have treeless edges with seashell carpets.

 

The parents were an Illinois couple, he was an older gentleman farmer.

She was a graceful seventy-something who held their lives together.

We hunted seashells.

As we fingered them like glass shards in the sand, Mom told me she’d once dated a young radio broadcaster named Ronald Reagan.

He was President by the time we picked over that beach in the bright December sun.

 

Early one morning the father, the young boy and I hopped into the boat.

Three rods, tackle and bait, out to the Gulf.

Looking for Grouper.

An hour later we lowered the lines.

Rolling seas, gentle breeze.

The boy was catching beautiful grouper. One, two, three.

My rod jumped. 

I reeled. Spinning, spinning.

Bait gone. Nothing there.

Helping the boy bring in fish, the old man didn’t notice that his rod jumped. 

Up it jerked, bounced off the hull. Into the sea it went…the handle and reel plunged down, into the white caps.

His lips pursed, his neck grew red, his eyes a fury.

 “Aw…sh…ucks!” 

“I loved that pole.”

I turned my side to him to gird against the profanity I knew was coming.

He aimed his mouth…

He spit it out.

“What – a – shame.”

That was it.

 

That night, we ate grouper, all caught by the boy.

None by me, what a nice discussion topic.

In that beautiful house near the mangrove islands.

On Christmas morning there was a brand new fishing rod,

Under the tree,

For the gentleman farmer from Illinois.

 

 

 

Dan Haifley has been Executive Director of O’Neill Sea Odyssey since 1999. He raises funds for its core and special programs and he is a leading advocate for hands-on environmental education, presenting papers at numerous conferences. Dan served as District Chief of Staff for the late California Senator Henry J. Mello from 1993 until 1996; Executive Director of Save Our Shores from 1986 to 1993; and Community Affairs Officer for PG&E in the Monterey Bayfrom 1997 to 1999. Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is past Chair and member of the Santa Cruz County Commission on the Environment, co-chairs the Dominican Hospital Community Advisors Committee, and previously served on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council from 2001 to 2007 and currently serves there now.  In collaboration with UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences Director Gary Griggs he publishes a weekly column in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and received the 2011 Ocean Hero Award from Save Our Shores for his work to fight offshore oil and establish the Monterey Bay Sanctuary.  He is married to Rebecca Haifley and has two grown children, Aaron and Julia.

Fishing

No one knew the peculiar-looking man that placed the winning bid to take home the most expensive fish in the world. The familiar faces around the Tsukiji fish market watched one another in disbelief, shouting blasphemies as they were continually outbid by this foreign, white- skinned stranger. Once the bidding had reached 80 million yen they fell silent, one by one, and rested their hands in their laps, careful now only to peek over at the unusual man through furtive glances.

The foreigner was immense in both height and girth. As he stood to claim his prize, he straightened the lapels of his gray pinstripe suit and buttoned it closed over his enormous stomach. He lumbered toward the stage as the news media and cameras surrounded him, bright flashes ricocheting off his greasy face, though he did not blink. Onlookers studied his movements with a suspicious eye. Who was this man? Why had he come across the ocean to ruin this time-honored festivity? And, most interestingly, why was he now approaching the auctioneer’s microphone stand?

The man stepped onto the stage and stood next to the great 496-pound bluefin resting motionless on its side on a large wooden table. The fish had been cleaned to a spotless shine and glimmered tantalizingly under the show lights. He walked the length of the table and ran his plump fingers across the tuna’s loins. He returned to the head of the fish and slapped it across the face. The crowd gasped and the room fell silent. The man grinned and posed for a photo.

A local journalist approached the man. “Why have you bought the fish?” he asked.

“I wanted to,” the man replied.
“Is it for a sushi restaurant in America?”
“No.”
“Why did you buy such a large fish from our country?”
“Because I wanted to.”
“What will you do with the fish?”
The man beamed at the reporter, exposing a row of tiny teeth coated in urine-colored

film, and clicked his tongue. The crowd gathered around the bluefin and gawked at its sheer size. The man spread his arms out over the fish and the crowd leaned back in astonishment, as if he were brandishing a blade.

“Get away from my fish,” the man said to the horde.

***

Back at his estate across the sea, the obese man sat in his tanned leather chair at the corner of a large den with high oak walls and vaulted ceiling. The room was lit in the center by a large circular fireplace that sat underneath an enormous limestone chimney. On a small, elegant table next to the man was a china plate littered with the stripped T-bones of two porterhouses. There was no silverware in sight. The man unbuttoned his trousers, slipped off his loafers, and belched, listening with glee as the sound carried around the room much like the boom from a stadium’s sound system.

On the wall above him was the massive bluefin, stuffed and frozen in wild ecstasy. The man fell asleep.

 

 

 

Born and bred in Detroit, Michael A. Ferro was awarded the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award for Fiction. His debut novel, TITLE 13, will be published by Harvard Square Editions in early 2018. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. Additional publications can be found at: www.michaelaferro.com and @MichaelFerro. After traveling, working, and writing throughout the Midwest, Michael currently resides in rural Ann Arbor, Michigan.