ONE: Short Works by Oliver Zarandi
I love you most in the swimming pool. This is what she said to him. He wondered why she had said this here and not somewhere else. Was it, perhaps, that she held a certain power over him in the pool. Her genitals were unaltered by the cold of the water. His had taken the form of a child’s and she had them cupped in her hand.
Outside of the pool, the relationship was not as strong. On rooftop bars she ignored him and found solace in concrete. In the streets she would be talking to him and then she wasn’t. She said that maybe things weren’t working. That maybe she loved the places more than she loved him. She admitted that she had had sex with a street bollard and that she held a conversation with a lamppost. He said what about us? and she was already kissing the bricks of a white townhouse.
It began as a catastrophe. At ground level, it was just smoke. Smoke and glass. And after the smoke settled, the sky was nuclear white in the city. The street was paved with the glass of financial buildings, mirroring the white of the sky, creating a double sky. On that sky walked a man, in what seemed sixteen layers of clothing, picking up debris. He picked up a brick and carried it as he walked on the sky. He put it down somewhere else, not far from where he originally picked it up. The people from a distance made bets on whether he was friend or enemy. Soon many people, dressed in similar attire, began doing the same. People were moving bricks from the centre of the road to the side of the road. We made bets on whether they were going to rebuild the city brick by brick, but instead of where the buildings originally stood, the new buildings would be just off to the right, perhaps like a new city, born again thanks to the explosion.
Oliver Zarandi is the editor of FUNHOUSE. His writing has recently appeared in Hobart, The Quietus and The Alarmist. Follow him on @funhousemag or visit www.funhousemagazine.com