Or Do You Love It?

The darkness was in early now, and she said she looked like a Holstein with her black and white jacket. Men walked by and smiled at me, not her.

Her jacket was playful and spotted and she was overweight so yes, I suppose she looked a bit bovine – but in a nice way. She spoke often of her double chin. I didn’t give a crap, we were friends. We always walked around the lake, every day toward evening we did, rain or shine.

I could smell Kahlua in the air, maybe just the holidays nearing.

A scribble of rain came down and skittered the walkway, pimpled the man-made lake – the mile loop around would soon be slick with silvery leaves from the young trees.

“Are you afraid of lightening? Or do you love it?” she asked.

She was jealous of me because I had a man. I never talked about him or about anything that had changed for the better. Secretly, my bed had become a home again. A place to live.

My man friend didn’t like her, said, “She sounds cruel, and anyone who hurts you is a redneck asshole.”

“No, you don’t know her,” I told him. I should not tell him anything about her, but I was starting to tell him everything about everything.

On our walk, she stopped right at the place where a huge oak had fallen. The huge roots, she said, had smelled just exactly like her husband. She said “I smelled him, just before they hauled it away .”

Her husband died in a car, and after that she had gotten heavy. But she was not a redneck. Yes she could be stupidly mean. A woman who had become a mottled thing. I thought about men, how many there were and how none of them would likely thrive with her, or keep her upright.

Night herons hunched like old men around the shallows. Usually I didn’t say anything, but I hoped to live in the water happy just like them, a driven love-hunting fool, gleaming in the wet.

 

 

Meg Pokrass is the author of Damn Sure Right, a debut collection of flash fiction stories from Press 53. Meg is Editor-at-Large for BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review) and curates the Fictionaut Five author interview series. Her work appears in Mississippi Review, Wigleaf, and PedestalKeyhole, among other journals. Her work has been nominated for Dzanc’s Best of the Web, the Pushcart Prize, and Wigleaf’s Top 50 Flash Stories. Meg lives in San Francisco with her daughter, Molly, and husband, Doug Bond.

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Funny or Die: Dear Woman

Will Ferrell & Friends

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Honey

In our carnivorous garden in the country, a slew of beehives bobbed and glowed sensually in the dark, buzzing like tiny floating homes. The hives haunted the Alabama air, dripped honey onto grass.

I tried everything to get that honey out of my hair.

I was eleven years old the summer the honey was its most irresistible. A skinny girl, no training bra. My teeth were splattered potato chips in pink gums.

Etta and I had spent the afternoon chasing tadpoles at the reservoir. We climbed trees in early evening preparing for sunset fireflies and the taffy leaves slickened to my feet and forearms. When I slipped, I clutched  a fat hive on my way down. We landed on a mushroom colony, me and the fragments of the hive in my lap like pieces of a broken pumpkin.

Through the backdoor, I snuck up to the bathroom where I scrubbed my body clean, but the honey had already half-dried in my hair, strands like cold, sticky spaghetti. I tried peanut butter, chewing gum. I moved through Venus flytraps, shook their trunks for nectar, where they flourished like sunflowers at the side of the house.

My mother caught me. She bent me over the couch with my pants around my ankles and paddled  me.

So I tried a blow dryer in the bathtub.

In college, I let a boyfriend ejaculate in my hair. I slathered brownie batter, warm cake, and boysenberry sauce. I visited a woman with cheeks like crushed roses. She performed hot ceremonies on me in a pool. I even went to the bathhouse where an old crow asked me if I was brain dead. You have to be brain dead, it cawed. I sought the company of lice, lye, and sun blisters from a magnifying glass. I tried deer’s blood. I threw money at it. I threw hands into the air.

After college, when I returned to the hives, wiser, wearing a tank top sweat-soaked from the muggy air, I crept around the honeyed bend, away from the warm lit windows of my mother’s kitchen where strangers still ate oatmeal at midnight.

The hives were as I remembered them, unevenly strung, glowing in the bushy trees above blue-green grass. A busy community of bees flew in and out of the hives, darting, swaying like drunks. In moments, a plump, hairy bee quivered in circles around the tip of my nose, licking its legs. I crossed my eyes then smiled and almost coaxed it to sting me.

 

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Melissa Ross is a poet and fiction writer of absurd realism in Denver, Colorado. She is currently working on her first novel, an absurdist’s predictions for the American working class.  For more writing, photography, and the reliving of childhood humiliations, she updates her blog at least once a week: melissafiction.blogspot.com.