Table of Contents
Even the Damned Deserve to Love
House of Cards
Steven J. Dines
The Fiddler and the Faerie
When Barky Smiles
2 A.M. Window Shopping
Harriet O. Leach
Cloudy New Year's Morning
On Hearing Li-Young Lee Read
Prelude and Coda
Rainy Night Meditation
Harriet O. Leach
Silage Team--Machete Thirst
The Abandoned Playground
Thought Provoking Baked Crescent
and Digital Art
Steven J. Dines
meet in the beachfront games arcade because they don’t like you
going there. I let you lose on the slots, rolling my eyes and
handing over change as required. The summers get longer and hotter
every year. The Earth’s a pressure cooker. Just the other week,
there was a tornado in Birmingham. You look good tonight, by the
drive to a place even the doggers haven’t sniffed out yet.
It’s the most secret place in the world. Exclusively ours, I
whisper. Insects watch us through the rear window. An African
child dies in the time it takes me to peel off your white panties.
I snap my fingers, another, damn it, snap again, another...
and your bra’s undone. Somewhere in the world a hole is filling
don’t want to dance, you say. I’ve only done a few steps.
Okay, what about some music? Yes!
Oh, yes! And you’re headlong through the seat gap for
the radio buttons on the dash. You find Britney Spears as I reach
for the moon. The windows are steaming up.
weep and tell me how you lied in all our private rooms. And how
much you’re sorry. You’re sorry? I say. Can you even spell ‘irony’? Have they taught you
that yet? With your cherry lips you beg forgiveness from my skin.
I’m lost in the back of your head, stroking your hair, wondering
who you’ve got in there instead of big old me—some scrawny
teenage boy-crush, perhaps. I can feel the silver wires on your
teeth. Nelly raps on the radio, Hot In Herre. Prolonging
the ecstasy and the agony, I spell it in my mind for you: I-R-O-N-Y...
leave the car grown yet diminished. I offer to drop you somewhere,
but you’ll walk, you’ll be all right, you don’t need a lift
or taxi or bus fare or anything else. “Good idea,” I say,
smiling. “Buses blow up these days.” But you’re walking not
return to a house of cards and a blank, white stare from the PC
screen in the corner. I miss the whirrs and bleeps of the arcade
already. I switch on the television then fall back on the double
bed that was too small then and is too big now. There’s a
shallow concavity in the mattress, barely noticeable, although to
me it’s a gaping hole. I like to run my hand along it: down, up,
down. God, even the mattress can’t forget. On the TV, a panel
discuss the ozone layer and global warming. The summers get longer
and hotter every year. Last December, the tsunami killed many
thousands of people. I make that a lot of zeroes. An instant
message alert yanks me across the room to the computer. I wonder
which one it is now. And if she’s lying.
way, I don’t care.
STEVEN J. DINES lives in the granite city of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has been writing short fiction for many years, and has appeared online and in print in
Voices from the Web, Gold Dust, Skive, The Beat, Blue Almonds, Dark Tales, Buzzwords, The Writers Post Journal, 63Channels, Word Riot, Noo Journal, Underground Voices, Rumble, Zygote in My Coffee, Wild Child, Double Dare Press, Outsider Ink, The Quiet Feather, Eclectica, Escaping Elsewhere, Cherry
Bleeds, and in forthcoming issues of Delivered, The Hurricane Review, Shadowed Pathways,
and Peeks & Valleys.