Archive for the ‘Under-Belly Fiction’ Category


Jessie stared into the tiny wire cage, unable to pull her eyes away. The cedar shavings that lined the bottom of the cage were, as always, fragrant, but also alarmingly free of rodent clutter. The tiny silver wheel, which had become background music in Jessie’s bedroom, sat still, quiet, and clean. Speedy was curled in a ball, in his favorite corner, behind his wheel. He also sat still, quiet, and clean.

Jessie pushed back the sliding door at the top of the cage, her small, pale hand appearing ghostlike between the bars of the cage as she reached inside. It was not until she gently scooped Speedy into her palm that she realized she was screaming. Her throat was tight and raw, as it had been the time she choked on one of the horse pills her dad sometimes made her take. (more…)



Just 'nother old pick-up

Today was made for me by gods.

A massive sun hangs steamy and stubborn in the endless sky, the air swells with humidity, the light in my eyelashes punishes. 

My foot is a brick against the accelerator of the old pickup, which squeals with distress or delight but either is good to my ears. The windows are down, the wind bullies my sweating face, raking my tangled hair. It feels good, a splash of cold water after a hot, beer-soaked brawl. The road in front of me stretches empty, wants to be driven, and I meet it head on, with the perfect joy of a racer completing his final lap.

            I feel at once ecstatic and empty, fulfilled and thirsty. I wonder if I should seek out a bar, if there I could find a reward worthy of this day. Scotch would taste good, right now, mother’s milk, all peat and clawing bite when it hits the back of the tongue, then fire and ice in the gut, then warmth, slow and comfortable, in the blood. (more…)