Issue #68

Fall 2018

Four Stories

by Christopher Prewitt

God's Pantry

Now I'm a poinsettia, and the rain keeps coming. You are down in the courtyard looking up to me here on the balcony. Your dark hair soaking, your hands keep brushing it from your brown eyes. You are telling me a secret. About the people of Norway, and two in particular, one with false teeth, one with a failing kidney, who reluctantly made love inside the mist of a fjord, then, having dressed, firmly shook hands and established a business of renovating haunted forests across Northern Europe. At last the people can gamble with thunder.

This is why you're trying to drown?

If the rain calms, I will silence you. I will spread my petals, and the subsequent light will disperse you into a small crowd, you and your shadow. Then I will commence with my daily song.

Heartbeat, heartbeat.

***

It Just So Happens That I Carry a Harmonica for Blues Like These

Simone de Beauvoir--clicking her tongue and pinning her hair. But enough about a woman's body. I'm walking alongside a rusted chain-link fence. Pine trees grow on either side of the fence. Certain branches which are beginning to yield cancerous looking pine-cones are the color of a dog-in-heat's vulva. The branches begin to shake violently, and a baby bird falls at my feet.

And now the blurred vision comes. Simone de Beauvoir's smacked me on the back of my head.

"I'm sorry," she says. "I thought you were Sigmund Freud."

"Actually, I am Dr. Freud. We are all Dr. Freud when the weather's this nice."

She nods solemnly and smacks me again. And again.

At a small, bare table, Sartre laughs uneasily and turns a blood red diary in his hands. A tremendous thing, freedom.

***

The New Disease

When the news comes of the new disease, I lock myself in the house again. The horse claiming to be my father--who debuted at his own funeral, announcing himself while I was reading the eulogy!--shakes its head disapprovingly. But the boards are already on the door, and the door is painted black like the rest of the room so that I will never be able to guess the way to the outside.

"Doesn't it even bother you that she loves you?" The horse stomps a hoof. I shrug.

"Never to see the stars again!" The horse tries to make this its departing words, a way of punctuating the argument, but it can't find another room.

"That's where you're wrong!" I say. "These eyes, fluid. And it never decreases in pressure. All these floaters, by god it's like we're in space right now." I close my eyes. It's like I'm in space. I'm in my room to escape the new disease only the horse isn't here.

I prefer it this way, and it shouldn't surprise my father. The eulogy did not come easily.

I live with my eyes closed in the dark room avoiding the horse and the new disease.

Then I begin thinking of her, and my eyes are closed.

A chrome skull appears at my feet. Are my eyes still closed? It follows me around the room.

I try whistling for the horse, and when this fails I say the magic word: Father.

When the skull opens itself to me, there are roses, and I smile.

When the roses disappear, the skull remains, and my bearded face is covered in blood.

"The stars!" my father neighs.

***

Putting Your Face to the Machine

A detective and a shrimp, one in the same, staking out an all-you-can-eat buffet. A priest rises from a table and begins striking it with his left palm. The blonde woman in the emerald dress sitting there laughs. Full house tonight, but nobody seems to notice that the workers from the nail salon, wearing their paper masks, have assumed the duties of refilling food and drinks, while the young servers in matching black slacks stand in line outside the kitchen, waiting to receive either holy communion or gas masks. Even Private Eye Shrimp hasn't noticed. He's expired on the red carpet inches from the open door. The sun's out and it's sleeting. Here, have a bite.

Author Bio

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Christopher Prewitt is a writer from eastern Kentucky. His chapbook of poems, Paradise Hammer, is forthcoming from SurVision Books (Dublin, Ireland). He is a recipient of the James Tate Award (2018, SurVision Books) and the Virginia Tech/Poetry Society of Virginia Prize (2010). His story "Three Sponge Baths" appeared in Issue 44 of The Cafe Irreal.