The cult section of the literary world

Flash Fiction Friday: Grab It, The Bucket

by Alex M. Pruteanu


You pair tiramisu with a crayfish starter. Tender steak and homemade sorbet. Excellent ambiance, food, and service. Then go for the papers. For the papers. “Georgette lives in Alabama with her best friend and life partner, eight horses, fifteen chickens, one rabbit, five cats, and two dogs. ‘I blog, read blogs, and comment on blogs in spurts. Although I am not always consistent, here is a list of bloggers I think are pretty groovy.’” “The Real Sun Myung Moon: Is Barrack Obama Running a Cult?” More rubbish: “A Dollar a Day; Presidents and Prison” and “Emotions and Money” and “Who Is Ron Paul/How Can We Salvage The Economy?” and “Hermaphrodites for Clinton” and…

This is why I drink Cat Diesel. You think. This is why I drink Cat Diesel. He says.

He says: “To-day is HST Death Day. I still have that bottle of aged alcohol. We can kill it when you get to Silber-Spraings.”

I met Kissinger with Reagan when the Gipper was running for Prez in ’80. Shook hands with him in a fruit market just outside Cleveland. Kissinger’s hand. The Gip was too busy holding up babies and laying off traffic controllers. That came later, but it’s how memories work here. They get mashed up into a 12-quart pot. Carter had just cluster-fucked two helicopters on their way to pluck out the hostages from some abandoned kebab joint in Tehran. Operation Eagle Claw. Has landed. Harshly. Both of them. Also of note, the role Canada played in this debacle: Canadian Caper. Kudos to Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor.


And so we sold fruit to Czechoslovaks and Poles (the curtain hadn’t fallen in ’80 so they were still called Czechoslovaks) and honed our English language skills while some grade B actor from Tinseltown moseyed around fishing for support.

Cent. Five Cent. Ten Cent. Dollah.

Cent. Five Cent. Ten Cent. Dollah.



Only by the time we blurted out “may I help you” (which, incidentally always came out as: MayaaahIhee…), customers had already moved on to the Kelbasa and Flaki wołowe stand. Bloody Poles and their Solidarity. I was eleven when I got hooked to grapefruit. Years later my dentist (a Chinese dwarf with a severe limp) chastised me for eating too much citrus (and ingesting massive amounts of wine). Said it was eroding my teeth. Had little holes in the bones which he drilled without anesthesia and filled with some clear compound/sealer. It was the first time I’d been told too much of a good thing is bad.

He was a tai-chi and feng-shui master.

And drilled without remorse.

Or numbing gels.

Or gas.

After the fruit stand I snagged a job cleaning out old warehouses downtown. Walked through a curtain of fiberglass every day. It’s when I started smoking. Twelve years old. The other boys did it so. So. You know. One of them, Terry, drove a shit Chevy Nova (350 with dual exhaust) and kept girlie mags in the boot. That’s the trunk. On lunch breaks he’d go into his car and do his business. Always he came out lighting up a stogie. The shit we cleared out of those warehouses was Eliot Ness junk. Bureaus and armoires and machines from that era. Al Capone times. That kind of rubbish. Ness was a pig, though. A drunkard full of braggadocio who read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a kid.

Amazing how Sherlock Holmes drives all of us to the sauce.

You pair tiramisu with a crayfish starter. Tender steak and homemade sorbet. Only my take on it is: chłodnik litewski, barszcz czerwony, rosół z kurczaka, and for a main you go with polędwiczki wołowe. Excellent ambiance, food, and service. (Bloody Poles and their Solidarność.)


–Hey, where’s my crabs ye fookin alien?

–Grab it, the bucket.



Since emigrating to the United States from Romania in 1980 Alex has worked as a day laborer, a film projectionist, a music store clerk, a journalist/news writer, a TV Director, and a freelance writer. Currently he is an editor at NC State University.

Alex has published fiction in Pank Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Specter Literary Magazine, Connotation Press, and others. He is author of the novella “Short Lean Cuts,” (Amazon Publishing) available as an e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in paperback at Amazon.

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  1. Pingback: An Update | Pterodactyl Samurai

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