ISSUE 4 / SPRING 2006
Issue 4
Fiction
"And So It Begins..."
I Have One Video
by Allison Carter

Flash Fiction
Time Will Have a Short Introduction
by Elena Minor

Short Stories
La La's Guthriecrucian Songbook, A Bildungsroman
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Oregon
by Trevor Houser

For the Dogs
by Katie Flynn

Date-Stamped
by Deidre Woollard

The Canvasser
by Michael Scott Moore

Time Will Have a Short Introduction
by elena minor
I had to watch TV.  It was beyond disease: it was evolution.

"I'm giving up on you," said Leo, hovering in my periphery.

"What," I said, eyes glued not on him and with my eyesight failing.    

"I said, 'I'm giving up on you.'"

I'd had Leo.  Way past his time, and mine was coming up on the mark.  He'd been living with me like deep faith at the time and we'd ridden out plenty of rockers and rollers, but I knew him so very well.  What it was poinging somersaults in his mealy mind was thirty-five years – thirty-five years – and he didn't want to believe in sunk costs.  He'd lost a lot of hair, mostly on his back and forearms, so you could tell he had charged it.  The stuff crowning his head was wild, white and plenty woolly… and I'd always hated it.

"Are you listenin'?  I said, 'I'm giving up on you'." 

Merciful God in heaven, he had such bad habits.  "Oh," I offered, as generously as possible.

He spit up again.  "That fat ass of yours is going to grow into that damn chair."

"Mm," I announced as my next best offer.

"Get me a tortilla con mantequilla," he imagined as a suitable token of respect.

At the TV I explained, "I'm busy."  And I was.  I could feel motion now.  I was headed somewhere kind and common but riveting.  The light was bluish flickering and there was rapid eye movement with the sound waving sinuously.  Low-hum signal of signoff – just about.  I had to hang on.

"My feet hurt," he issued as his next slur. 

Last time it had been just his big left toe.  I wanted to lower my eyelids but didn't dare.  Instead:  "Call the doctor.  Get a pill."  God Almighty, how much more did I have to give this man?

"Pills don't work."

"Go see Doña Carmina."

"She's a fake."  He proceeded to pick loudly at his big left toe.  He was upping the ante to a chorro of elephant tears: self-centered son of a big tit knew it was a gross aggravation on me.  "She don't like me neither.  She'll poison me."

I almost looked away from the TV.  Ohhh . . . I almost did.  "She won't have to.  I'll do it," I implied.  The bid fell short.

"Thirty-five years," he exclaimed up to the longtime crack in the ceiling.  "I'm dying."

"It's a miracle."

"But I'm dying – dying, woman.  Aren't you listenin'?"

"Maybe God will forgive you."  I heard something not Leo then.  Low but clear.  Then Leo again.

"Crack me some filberts."

"You ate them all."

"See what I mean?  You let me.  Now I'm dying."

A sudden snap-crackle made me blink, but I recovered before I lost my concentration.  I had vows to keep.

Leo jumped up at it.  "See?  See what I mean?"

Then the ceiling split wide open and God's face peered in, a bright, tinkling smile encircling broad, bared teeth.

"See?"

I followed at the TV.  Beyond the sky was the bluest ever.

 

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