Also see LONESOMES and SQUAREAWAY pages for more short fiction.
Panic Don’t Panic
Abel Klemper Snorts Crystal Lite
Whorls and The Unraveling
As Large As We Get
The Sin Eater 2874 BC/1979 AD
Church of Kicking Tires
A La Mode
Before and After Val Marie
Watching the River Flow
2420 Summers Ago
Bad Men Who Love Jesus
Shoal Lake August 19, 1889
Sitting Bull & Dancing Horse/Messenger
Big White Combine
Through the Donut Hole
WINTER: The Spanish swirls around the cleaning ladies at the next table, stuffed in bulbous parkas the zipper is always stuck. A man in a tuque paces around the coffee shop, impatient hands stuffed into impatient pockets. Someone is late or early. The Korean boys have started to arrive. When they go outside to smoke they leave their coffees and car keys on the table. The Koreans love to argue in a loud scramble of sounds. It is cold everywhere, even Korea.
SPRING: The thaw is slow, advancing and refreezing but the coffee only moves forward. Out the window, down the hatch, rumble guts, tongue suffering inhibition of sweetness. It is what we want all ways. The cell phone of a Korean buzzes in an arc on the table next to his car keys. He talks loudly into the phone. They never smile. The Indian boy behind the counter is new, handsome and dark. His name tag says Viver. Girls watch him move through the machinations of coffee. He smiles making one girl blush. Later she’ll think about his smile and so on when she masturbates.
SUMMER: Billy is a regular in every season. Today he wears shorts and a tank top for the heat. Sometimes he doesn’t wear a shirt at all and Maria, one of the owners, has to tell him to put his shirt on. Billy is very brown and not quite right but he knows the coffee he needs and where to find it. He sits on the curb smoking and hoping someone will drive up and hit him and Billy will die. If Billy gets old he’ll be like Ramblin’ Jimmy who is grey, bristle-chinned and always wears a bright Hawaiian shirt tucked into his sensible Dockers that bulge with Depends. The Koreans never wear Hawaiian shirts or Depends.
AUTUMN: The phlegm is drowning him and has been for two years. His wet cough sounds like struggling bubbles. His wife with the perfect blue hair ignores his drowning and has for two years. One day she’ll walk in without him and everyone will know. The Koreans are arguing loudly. A young guy with red hair at the next table is offended by their talk, their loudness, their presence, their incomprehensibility. He mutters angrily to himself. The Koreans argue on. Outside the sky goes grey.