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“Marty of Karbala,” by Daniel Aristi

Cigarette Pack BW

He wasn’t all that the judge said he was. He was some, and not all the time, at that. He was still Marty, doing Marty things. Marty The Dervish, Marty The Top, Marty The Wolverine, and Sir Marty of the Burning Wells. He liked his cigarette in between courses at dinner claiming that Camels enhanced the taste of the food: ‘y’all add salt, I have a smoke: big, fuckin’ deal. Hypertension will kill y’all faster than fuckin’ cancer.’ General laughter. ‘Like air freshener on shit, man,’ he would then add with a flourish, his latest trademark Martyism, the air freshener dictum. ‘His chest has no lungs,’ his folks back home used to fable, ‘all the space has been taken up by the heart.’ Allegedly, even his ribs were long-gone, too, pulverized by the cardiac hammering, such was the extent of Marty’s bonhomie. But one day in June he sat little Jessie on the lawnmower and off they ran in the garden and screamed away like bald eagles, blitzing the grass full throttle, searching for insurgents behind the tool shack. ‘Oh, I see,’ people tell me then, ‘I see.’

About the Author:

Daniel was born in Spain. He studied French Literature. He now lives in Botswana with his wife and two children, and two cats. Daniel’s work has been recently featured in Asymptote and Gamble the Aisle and is forthcoming in Cactus Heart.

Image Credit: © Kreatiw / Dollar Photo Club

“Texarkana,” by Daniel Aristi

The starving mutt in the front porch had started eating limbs & tail.

Owner Sam was a soda jerker once, used to read lots. Now’s rocking chair material, no books, reads something in the clouds. With age his eyes have receded towards the temples so now he looks at things sideways, like a sparrow. In the backyard, there’s a left-for-dead kidney pool. On Tuesday the therapist counseled Sam and Ethel:

  • Now, think of the kitchen as a swimming pool both of you must fill…
  • We’ve got a real one all right and it’s been dry for a decade.
  • Ethel…
  • Sorry.
  • So, then, you both must fill up the kitchen with words, and in equal proportion.

The children left already, went north and then east.

Sam and Ethel oblige. The kitchen fills up slowly with a Studebaker sort of grammar. She talks in gallons that she then stacks up neatly. He measures sentences by pushing sweet peas with his fork, one, two, three, four…

EPILOGUE

Two weeks later fire ate up the house and the swimming pool acquired new repute overnight. Its mosaics look almost Pompeian now, their cracks ennobled in the dusking light.

About the Author:

Daniel was born in Spain. He studied French Literature. He now lives in Botswana with his wife and two children, and two cats. Daniel’s work has been recently featured in Asymptote and Gamble the Aisle and is forthcoming in Cactus Heart.

Image Credit: © Andrii_Oliinyk / Dollar Photo Club