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Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #30: Headache

I had a headache that lasted twelve years.  It ended when I divorced him.  Nine years later, he never goes out.  Instead, he works from home and spends his free time watching downloads, either Hollywood oldies decades older than him or Second World War documentaries.  I suppose aging does that sometimes, makes you withdraw into a past you never experienced to help you avoid your disappointing present.  As for me, I have my pottery shop and my book club, though sometimes I myself feel like giving up—too many smart phones, not enough smart people.  Obviously, I’ve grown old too.

Copyright © 2018 David V. Matthews

Eeeee–No E!: Typical Man

As I jog past Bob and Alyssa McGavin’s McMansion that morning as usual, a shot rings out.  I stop.  Another shot rings out.  I turn around just as Bob strolls out in his usual gray suit, carrying a giant, nasty-looking pistol.

“Good morning,” I say.

“Good morning.” Bob says almost casually.  No blood’s on him.

“You okay?”

“Yup.”

“How’s Alyssa?”

“Good.”

“That’s good.”  Far off, a robin sings.  “Anyway, I gotta go.”

“Am I a good man?” Bob asks, sounding almost curious.

I try not to look at his pistol.

“Uh-huh,” I say, trying to sound kind.

“No fooling?”

“No fooling, Bob.”

Far off, a cop car wails.  Another cop car joins in.

“You look hot in that sports bra,” Bob says, smiling.

Typical man, I think with disgust.

The two cop cars pull up.

“Uh, I’m sorry for saying that.  About your looks,” Bob says.

 

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews

January 18, 2018

His-and-Hers Hybrids

The sleet pounding down onto her that frigid January night as she walked past the Bed Bath & Beyond in her gentrifying urban neighborhood, Megan yet again desperately wished she had accepted that financial analysis executive job offer at PKM Investment (she never did find out what those letters meant) four years ago instead of (seemingly on a whim) attending motherlovin’ (more like motherfuckin’) Columbia University to pursue that full-time master’s degree in English literature, a subject she had always loved but apparently not enough to prevent her from dropping out midway through her first semester due to excessive consumption of whatever imported upper-end wines she could afford, always a bottle at a time, as if some of Western culture’s greatest authors, especially the female ones, could have prevented her from turning into a slurring, stumbling, vomiting, pants-wetting alcoholic (though of course, even when pissing herself, she never failed to do so in the most stylish of imported designer retro-Thirties and Forties women’s pants, her lifelong sartorial aspirations only an infinitesimally close second to her “need for lubrication,” as she used to put it during the early, jovial stages of what she now calls her “sorry-ass boozing”).  She would have still turned into an alcoholic at that job, but at least the company would have paid for her twelve-step program, permitting her to retain enough money to give generously to every homeless person she encountered, and she encountered them more and more frequently as the hipoisie—including her nauseating cousins, the white ones, the heterosexual married couple who drove his-and-hers hybrids and mocked her father’s Ecuadoran accent right in front of his face in a ha-ha-just-kidding kind of way—have moved in and driven up rents, not that she had ever given anything to any panhandler sleeping on the street, the panhandlers representing a “There but for the grace of God” situation, referring to a deity she wished she could avidly believe in due to what she considered “the resulting spiritual narcosis, cheaper than weed or alcohol,” a narcosis her nauseating cousins had displayed but not at that Christmas dinner at his house two years ago, when the male cousin had told her father “Yo, Derian, pass the gravy, or I’ll report you to ICE, ha ha, I have ’em on speed-dial, ha ha ha,” the only moment in her life she had ever regretted not resorting to violence, and she would have inflicted very impressive violence upon her motherfuckin’ cousin, too, considering she had already drunk half a bottle of wine before arriving at the house.  Preloading, she called her practice of drinking before leaving for any occasion, a party or a staff meeting or that particularly important graduate seminar she otherwise hadn’t prepared for two weeks before her self-removal from Columbia, a seminar during which she had spent ten minutes vociferously arguing for the literary (“Nobel-level,” as she had put it) superiority of someone she had never read, bestselling author Danielle Steel, mainly because Steel’s “utter schlock” about “vacuous heroines” who find “riches and dick” in the “most idiotic and clichéd way possible” perfectly epitomized the “stunted dreams of the typical, all-American, non-Columbia-attending reader” who “cleans the toilets” at that university, and “everyone with a few unshrivelled brain cells” knows that the “university elite” had to “worship the shit the lower classes loved” in order for the elite to demonstrate “true Americanism” and “thus” grow more popular and “thusly” provide competition for “the GOP-holes” infesting “this fine nation,” Megan slurring quite a bit by this part and also worrying for a few milliseconds that she shouldn’t have used the word “dick” in such a sophisticated milieu as related to what mainstream literary heroines really wanted, considering this particular seminar (especially its most erudite member, that freckled, bespectacled guy she had drunkenly fucked while watching Downton Fuckin’ Abbey at his apartment) disparaged heteronormativity.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews

January 13-14. 2018

(revised January 19, 2018)

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #29: Historical Knowledge

My old man, an inveterate poker player, used to say “If you find yourself in a losing streak, you’ll make things worse by trying to end it.  Just ride it out.”  I’ve ridden my losing streak for the past nine years, after my wife left me and filed for divorce.  She took me for everything, and she badmouthed me to every other woman in the world, it seems.  I’m broke and lonely, but on the bright side, I’ve gotten into World War Two documentaries—nothing too depressing, just battles and patriotism.  Historical knowledge can substitute for carnal knowledge, I guess.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews

 

JQ

Sluggerz Sports Bar:

“You wanna know why I didn’t come to work today?” Jeff asked.

“Sure,” Denton said.

Jeff took a swig from his beer bottle.  “My grandma died last night.”

“Damn.  I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Thanks.  She was admitted to the hospital just a few hours earlier.  She died before I could visit her.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah.”

“So what did she die of?”

“Pneumonia, allegedly.”

“Allegedly?”

“The doctor they gave her was named Marla Rosenberg.

“Oh.”

“Guess I shouldn’t’ve posted that JQ stuff, huh?”  (JQ meant Jewish Question in alt-right argot.)

“Yeah, ha ha.”

No response.

“You serious?”

No response.

“Come on, Jeff.  Old people die of pneumonia all the time.  And your grandma was old as hell, no offense.”

“Thanks, rabbi.”

“The Jews aren’t behind everything.”

Shalom, rabbi.”

“That paranoid crap hurts our cause.”

“Shalom!”

Neither man said anything for a few moments.

Then:

“At least it wasn’t Dr. Apu for a change, in the hospital,” Denton said.

Jeff smiled.

“There we go.  Your grandma would have wanted you to smile.”

“I guess.”

“To her.”

“To her.  And to paranoia.”

Denton hesitated a moment.

“What the hell—to paranoia,” he said.

They clinked their beer bottles together.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews
July 8-9, 2017 (revised July 16, 2017)