Bill / by Eugene Harrogate

This week, Potluck turns one!

What a year it's been. In the past 365 days, we've hosted over 100 different writers, photographers, illustrators, and videographers on this site. And we are, and continue to be, very proud of their work. 

So, in order to commemorate them and our one-year anniversary, each editor has decided to republish a work that he or she believes has fully exemplified Potluck, and the space we've created here.  It's seriously the least we could do.

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On the weatherruined staircase he can see his wife and baby. They are watching the 

television set. Bill Bird watches them through the window, sitting on the bed, watching 


His wife looks at him when he opens the door. She says, How was work?

Good, he says. He opens his wallet and puts his tips on the dresser. For whatever 

it needs.

She bounces the baby in her lap. You ain’t leavin are you?

I got nowhere, he says.

Sometimes I think that’s the why of it. 

He unties his apron and drapes it over the chair and sits beside her. Her head on 

his shoulder, hair oiling his skin.

I think I might of got a job at the Laundromat.

I can’t be watching that baby, he says.

It’s a old woman who works in there. She said might be I could set him on my lap 

long as he don’t cause noise.

He climbs on top of her ignoring the baby and after he comes he goes to the 

bathroom and draws a glass of water. She smokes a cigarette in bed and ashes on the 

baby’s feet. He comes back and bats them to the floor. He gets into bed and the baby 



Ladies and gentlemen, ya’ll been waitin months for this one and it’s finally here. Now, 

now. Ya’ll calm down. And son, if you put up that middle finger again I’mma come on 

down and break it for you. In the blue corner, weighing in at 157 pounds last week when 

we weighed him, the blonde haired bully himself, Bill Bird! And in the red corner, with 

them real mean lookin eyes, the Knockout King! Well if it was a applause contest Bill 

Bird would be on the mat bleedin. Well, but hold up. Before the fight I got to tell ya’ll 

about this cheeseburger I had. Probably the best one I ever tasted. Let’s see here. It was 

from Habash and Sons, down on Main Street. That was Habash and Sons I said. Alright 



The letters cut on in pairs to illuminate the name: Catalina Motel. Bill Bird climbs the 

staircase and peers through the window. The television flickers newsroom blue. She sits 

on the edge of the bed, leaning into the screen. She is not wearing a shirt. The knobs 

of her spine climb into her nodding head. She is agreeing with something. No, she’s 

sobbing. He descends to the Coke machine. It draws his dollar like a tongue. He punches 

the button and nothing comes out.


Eugene Harrogate is from Lexington, Kentucky, and received his MFA in Fiction Writing from NYU. His essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Publishers WeeklyGuernica and The Rumpus. He lives in Brooklyn and tweets here.