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Lying in bed last night, cocooned in that sweet hypnagogic haze, drifting, dissolving into sleepy dust, I was suddenly disturbed by my loving, placid neighbors. With closed eyes, with my head osmosing with the pillow, my body osmosing with the blanket and bed, I listened to their incongruous fight. This is what I remember:

Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Court One. Warm up. After twenty-two years it is exorable that my love for you has faded. I never loved you in the first place. I married you for the money. I married you because I was forced into it. Practice serves.  I have been using your razor on my legs for years. I always pour the last dregs of your almond/coconut fancy milk down the drain. I hide that one sock, the one that goes missing after a wash, and if you look in the cupboard in the spare room you will find them, all of them, years and years. I do the same with your car keys, you are not crazy. Even though I accuse you and berate you and call you all the names under the sun for having left toast crumbs in the butter yes it was me. You are Snow White in the bedroom. You are Rumpelstiltskin in the bedroom. Vagina dentata! Memento mori! Stretch. Drink liquid. Eat a banana. Meet at the net. Shake hands. Serve. It was I that broke your mother’s heirloom not the dog. Net. Second Serve. I leave the toilet seat up with the hope that during the night you will fall into the toilet. Fifteen Love. Serve. The last two times we had sex I faked the orgasm waited until you passed out and then used your fingers for a dildo. Fifteen Fifteen. Serve. Bitch! Line Call. Second Serve. Serve. I got so high on drugs at your father’s cremation I thought it is was disco. Out. Line call. Fifteen Thirty. Serve. Those inexplicable holes in your expensive clothing is not the consequence of hungry moths it is my artwork with scissors. Thirty Thirty. Serve. I might have used your toothbrush before bed before work on the soles of my feet for years. Thirty Forty. Break Point. Serve. What. Out. Second Serve. Serve.  Remember Malta. Remember Gozo. You remember those hot sultry nights.  Remember the meal at that sea food place in Valletta. Remember we had to take you back to the apartment. You said you were not feeling right; you blamed the oysters. Well, while you slept, your brother and I walked along the beach. It was on that beach, to the sound of waves crashing, under the moon, under the stars, we made love. And Gozo. Remember Gozo.  Remember Calypso’s cave. We left you sunbathing on Ramla Bay. We said we wanted to visit Odyssey’s Prison. So, we climbed up the hill to the cave. We waved. You returned the wave. In Calypso’s Cave, I sucked him off. Then he sucked me off. And then all together we swam in the sea, under the hot sun. It was extremely romantic! Deuce. Serve. Romantic my ass! It was never a secret. Daniel confessed. He said he hated you and that you were too much, always nagging him, always pestering him like an old pervert. He said that you were all over him like an old grandmother. He gave in just to make you stop. He said you got him drunk on cheap nasty wine. cheap nasty wine! Said you had no taste. He even told me about the drugs. Ad Out. Serve.  I killed the dog. The tennis ball was not a mistake. I stuffed the tennis down its throat. I did it. I confess. I couldn’t take the constant yapping. Deuce. Serve. I have been having an affair with Tim, your boss. We meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. At that motel on 5th Street. Yes, he has a bigger penis than you.  He makes me come repeatedly. I even allow him to anal fuck me, which I now enjoy. We are talking about going to swingers’ clubs and parties. And he says by the way you are fired! Ad Out. Serve. I thought about hiring a gun man to take you out. Net. Second Serve. Serve. I have been for the last three months poisoning you with small amounts of rat poison. Game. Set. Match. Mrs. Smith wins.

Paul Kavanagh

Categories
Short stories

Walkin’

When I am doing my daily walk, I empty my mind, the flame dances and incinerates, I throw things, I hammer things to nothing, I do all kinds of things destructive, use all kinds of WMDs, I toss the fear of the world being swallowed by a huge bumble bee or the sun being kicked like a football by a super centipede footballer or that all my money will dissipate like the smoke from a cigarette or that I am not really walking and instead I am home worrying about all these things and more, lots more and I am getting fat and ruddy and smell like blue cheese, all these I rid myself of. When I am not walking, I worry. I worry about cancer and what would happen if they started to sell fake cancer. I don’t know who they are but I know a dozen or more people that would buy fake cancer and parade the fake cancer as if the fake cancer was an expensive handbag. I walk every day and I walk always at the same time and I pass the same people and we nod and sometimes we say hello but we never say goodbye. There is a house I pass that always has the windows open. For months I thought there was a perpetual orgy in the house and then I thought the house was full of fascists, they are ubiquitous now, there are so many now of them that when they receive a punch we feel sorry for them, and then I thought the house was full of people that hated me and they waited for me to get near to the house so they could berate me and laugh at me. It turns out it’s a rental and it’s full of students, movie buffs. I started walking because of Kant. I read that Kant always walked the same route at the same time every day and he only stopped the walk when in that strange period they call moribundity. I do not know who they are. I know they come up with some fancy words and fools like me use these fancy words. When I am walking, I throw away words like moribundity because words I feel as I walk are like diseases. They appear, they do damage, and if you are lucky afterwards you say to yourself maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. I do three miles. I do not know how many miles Kant accomplished. I could easily find out. It would take me a second, maybe three. But I don’t want to know. I want to come over slightly ignorant. Is ignorant the right word? You know I am not lazy? I walk three miles every day. A man who walks three miles every day cannot pick up the appellation lazy. I worry that the aliens that will eventually find us will think we are terribly boring and they will prefer our cats or they will simply eradicate us. I fear that the horse I put money on is a donkey. I fear the gin I drink is really water. I fear that my head is full of cotton wool and behind the eyes and between the ears it is black. I know that Kant started his walk at twelve O’clock, after a few cups of tea and a smoke. I only drink tea. I don’t know anybody that smokes a pipe. I don’t know anybody that wears a smoking jacket. I don’t know anybody that wears a cravat. I worry about my penury. I worry that I do not know a poet. I worry that I am all center and no circumference. Kant lived in a big city. The city was once called Königsberg but now it is called Kaliningrad. I live in the city ___________________. The Russian writers used this device, I am told, to create a feeling of realism. I never run. Well, I only run when I am being chased. I run away from police, dogs, and rain. I fear the blue sky will get fed up and leave a Dear John letter or that all the boxers will take a dive or Geza Csath’s books will go out of print or the bass parts of Jaco Pastorius will simply disappear. I was near the end of my walk, drowning in sweat but penurious of worry and fear, when I was stopped by two eighty plus year old women. I stopped because they seemed affable and without a hint of violence. I saw no smashed bottles and sharp knives in their skeletal tanned hands. Their mouths were full of teeth, white and even. They emanated a smell of the Garden of Magalíluismili. I was intoxicated. We see you walking all the time, they said. I told them about my ritual. They were both in better shape than me. What is fear? What is worry? I don’t know. I told you early on that I know nothing. I told you early on, at the very beginning that I throw away all fear and worry.

Paul Kavanagh