Now and then I'll post a new bit of my short fiction.




A long while back I lived in a crazy part of town, populated by artists and musicians and drug addicts and thieves, maybe the thieves weren’t crazy, they had business to conduct is all, business isn’t crazy, business is business. The others, though, they were clearly insane. Don’t tell me artists and musicians aren’t as bad as drug addicts. All of them are out of their heads. I was probably out of my head living down there in the gutters with the rest of them. I didn’t have much money, so that maybe counted as an excuse. I don’t know. Humans come up with a lot of reasons for their failings. How was I any better than the rest of them. Not by a long shot.

There was a pub where I took my nightly drink. End of a twisted and dirty street. No name, that pub. No sign, even. Everyone in the neighborhood understood what the place was, they pushed through the screen door and sat in the dimness and filled themselves with whatever the bartender had to sell. Beer, homemade wine. Whiskey on special occasions, where it came from was anyone’s guess. One night the pub burned down, a candle left unattended the most likely culprit. We almost lost the whole damn neighborhood with the pub, it was a hell of a bonfire, the devil would have felt right at home. The pub went, the buildings on either side went. The grungy squatters in the buildings went. The bartender didn’t make it out of the conflagration. She ended up on the roof, trying to decide whether or not to jump and die on the cobblestones or wait for the flames to gobble her up along with the rafters and shingles. She waited so long the roof gave way and made the decision for her.

Don’t ask me if the poor bartender was one of the crazies. I would probably have done the same thing.



She hated the name Lish, it reminded her of failed poets and Victorian school teachers. She said that he must hate her for having such an old fashioned name, but he said not really and smiled and she went back to making coffee. It was late afternoon and late summer and he’d come home late from work and she was late in a different way and worried and unhappy and not in the mood for coffee or dinner or anything, really. What she wanted was not to be. For a little while. If that were possible. If she had the ability to temporarily deactivate herself. If, by some benevolent manifestation of fate, she could locate the off switch.

Through the open kitchen window she heard the hot wind roaming through a garden that had never quite managed to do more than make weeds. The sunlight looked brittle. She imagined it fracturing. What a lousy name she said. I mean, Alicia. Who names their child Alicia in this day and age. What the hell were my parents thinking. You give a kid a name and it should serve as a guide for life. Tell me anyone named Alicia who amounted to a hill of beans.

He went to the stove and got the coffee pot. He poured two cups and added cream to them both.

What about that cool woman from the Fantastic Four.

The invisible one?

No, the Thing’s girlfriend. The blind sculptress.

What’s cool about being blind. What has a blind person ever accomplished.

How about Helen Keller. Stevie Wonder.

Sure, them. Two people in all of history.

How about Homer.

Homer who she said, weary and confused.

He laughed, absolutely the wrong path to take at that moment.

Shaking his head in frustration she went off to the bedroom, forgetting about coffee and whatever might next be said.