by: Chris Meekings
It is barely coin o’clock in the morning,
and the bourbon has only just taken the taste of Pepsodent from my mouth
when she walks into my office.
She’s glass and alabaster,
with curves in all the right places,
She walks across the room, her heels clicking like a cricket on death row.
She tells me she has a problem.
I tell her it will cost her a pretty penny,
She pulls out an ugly penny and I take that instead.
Beggars can’t be choosers, especially with the price of flutes these days.
She says her name is Gia,
which should have told me everything I needed to know about the case,
but I was broke and she was in trouble
and I’m a sucker for a dame.
I offer her a chair.
I pour a drink
even though the sun has barely spat over the horizon.
I try to split my face to hide who I am,
but it doesn’t come off,
and I end up looking like a game-show host with too much time on his hands.
I take out a ruler,
and crack it in two.
I put one half in my bourbon and stir.
She tells me her husband has vanished,
and her brother is in Sing Sing for a stretch
so she’s turned to me for help.
Equations danced around her head,
and my abacus strikes attention.
I take her case,
and put it in the closet.
I tell her I’ll be in touch.
I’m a good guy to have around
when the chips go down and the tables go up.
A real white knight.
You shouldn’t drink hard on an empty stomach.
The bar is the kind of dive that charges you extra when the lights go down.
I go to the wood, and order a drink.
It comes with a shovel full of dirt, owl pellets and napkin to wipe the blood away.
I dip my other half of ruler in it,
and survey the scene.
The bar is dark and wearing sunglasses.
Midgets flit from table to table,
asking for green wine and molasses.
Nobody has any.
I crack an egg on the bar.
It sizzles to fried
None of this makes the boot polish blacker,
so I ask some questions.
“How did you get here?”
“Which way to Amarillo?”
“Do you know where the Falcon is?”
The Nazis in the corner “Seig Heil”,
but no one else pays attention.
Outside the bicycle bell rings,
and De Bergerac sniffs the glue.
Of course, someone’s in the know.
I swallow my finger nails,
and wait patiently
for the case to unfold.
It doesn’t take long,
Gia knows who’s to blame,
I rip off my moustache and trench coat,
No one can say I didn’t try to get out.
The fire licks up the side of bar in salacious wafts,
and the bicycle bell rings again,
but the patrons pay it no mind.
They staple down the fire to stop it spreading.
I pull out my revolver
and point it at the drink.
It’s always the ones you suspect the least who hurt you the most.
The bourbon tries to make a break for it,
but my gun sings, and the bourbon has to listen.
It’s transfixed by the music,
distracted, it falls from the bar.
Clatter-tinkle on the floor.
Thank god, I’m wearing my galoshes.
The bicycle bell rings once more,
and I make notes on Mahatma Gandhi’s treatises.
Thank god, it was only a thinking man’s bicycle.
Chris Meekings lives in the city of Gloucester in the UK. If you’d ever been to Gloucester you’d understand why he sits inside and makes things up. He’s the author of the bizarro novella Elephant Vice (Eraserhead Press) and the metaphysical fantasy novel Ravens and Writing Desks (Omnium Gatherum). He is still 58 weasels in a trench coat, just looking for love.
Send your weird little stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Madeleine Swann
Jesse lived a little way out of the city, so Ellen had told her husband that she was getting a pedicure. He would have denounced the whole thing and checked further into her spending.
The room was so ordinary that Ellen was disappointed. Jesse took her fur coat and mink hat and hung them up behind the door. He was a handsome young man in a long paisley jacket, a cliché of a painter were it not for the sharpness of his blue eyes. Ellen fluffed her white hair coquettishly.
“Okay, Mrs Henley, if you could sit.” He indicated a new-looking, grey armchair. “How long have you been having these nightmares?”
“Oh, gosh.” She thought back. “Since forever.” One of her friends had given her Jesse’s card last week, claiming she’d not had a nightmare since.
“OK,” Jesse fetched a paint pallet and sat on a stool opposite her. He dipped a brush in bright yellow and unlocked her forehead, “Lot of muddiness in there, I’ll start by brightening it.” He continued his unintentionally alluring mumbles for the next hour, and if Ellen was 20 years younger she would have pounced. Instead she sat while he dabbed and rinsed his brush again and again until finally he sat back and appraised the inside of her head. The intensity of his stare made Ellen look down. “It’s done,” he smiled.
He took the bills from her wrinkled fingers and stuffed them into his pocket. Another silly old bag with too much money and time to spend on trivial problems. She’d not felt the extra daub he’d left behind, same as his other clients hadn’t. Two more months and she’d be back. He waved her off and made a cup of tea.
Madeleine Swann squeezes animals really hard in a misguided attempt to show love. Her short story collection, The Filing Cabinet of Doom, was published by Burning Bulb. Marvel at her brain words on her website. Her novella, Rainbows Suck, a surreal journey through the dark side of fame, was released as part of the New Bizarro Author Series with Eraserhead Press.
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