“Apotropaic of Giving Good Ole Boys Roadhead” by J. Phillip Reed

J. Phillip Reed


I’ve been ogling the maintenance men again. I wonder about their faces, about the weather, whether anyone else eyeballs them, and who? The one with the belly, I think, was once a hottie. He’s got that post-hottie face, and in making sure the steel doors swing shut as they should, he goes back in his weathered head to his hottie times, when—

Her name had to be something like Trisha, call me Trish. She could bar brawl. She could bedroom brawl. Beer-drinkin tiny-waisted plate-chuckin bitch Trish. When they were together, they only ate off of paper. One night she took to chewing the styrofoam, but it didn’t burn going down. So then Trish dammit chewed him, and between them both they chewed the windows out of walls.

That’s why he’s here, grinding gravel to dust beneath a college-owned pickup now the doors are done. He catches my eye as it paws at his brow, that brow that sags like a gas station bag full of beer, like Trish’s tits probably do at some anonymous outskirts address. I fake an interest in any sudden little thing. I hope he knows I can’t help myself, can’t maintain a rocky face or an inflexible wrist or bang a bitch named Trish. But oh god, put me in a pickup, pop a can of hopelessness, and watch me watch him go to town.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
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