EVERY TIME Pablo picked a card, he drew the Citizen, the ten of spades, and no matter how innocent and quiet his presence, he was always "suspected" of being a Mafioso, or subjected to an untimely and maliciously violent death at the hands of organized crime-running rampant in the mythical streets of Revengaville.
This is speaking in generalities of course, because every now and again, seven out of twenty hands to be more precise, Pablo did draw one of the Jacks (always the Jack of Hearts and never the Jack of Clubs). But no matter his affiliation, he always fell to the first round of eliminations, and this is not speaking in generalities, but brutal and literal truth.le="text-align: center; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px;">
He was ridiculed incessantly during the remainder of the party. Marissa's family, particularly Elena and Hector, tore at him without regard to their daughter/sibling's thoughts on the matter. What remained of the host was left for scraps-bones that no one could see necessarily, but everyone chewed on all the same. Marissa laughed along with the jokes at his expense, and not once did she pick at the piece of pork lodged between her front molars. It stayed there all night...
She could hear the rain in her sleep.
But it wasn't raining that night, as it had not rained on the West Mesa for several days.
Just shortly after its conclusion, Pablo revisited the events of the party in his sleep, drunkenly and sporadically twisting and turning while the numerous insults churned deeper into his second R.E.M. stage. In the nightmare, some of these jibes were conveyed in a cheeky manner, never really divulging their spiteful intent:
"So Pablo, how's the job going at... where is it you work at exactly?-Ah! Yes. That's right. A print shop... Are you getting a promotion anytime soon?"
Elena asked this while studying the firm grip he held on the aluminum bottle in his left hand, which was unusually swollen (the hand and not the bottle) during the exchange and throbbing with a cold density that matched the tall boy's tincture. He could see his knuckles and palms turn the shade of a deep violet under the pressure, and Elena's sunken jowls flare to immeasurable proportions as she feigned a smile and went along her way.
"Your lawn looks like it could use a little more water hermano," proclaimed Hector, as they looked out over the dwindling patch of grass that covered all of seven feet in the lawn- a relative fallout zone ridden with fire ant hills and dry dog turds.
"I know a guy that can set you up with a bad ass sprinkler system, real, real, REAL cheap." (The third real actually appeared from Hector's mouth in fully capitalized fuschia bubbles.) "It wouldn't set you guys back very much when all was said and done. I'll give you his number before we leave tonight."
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THERE'S LOTS OF STRANGE SHIT IN THIS WORLD. OR MAYBE NOT. I DUNNO.
Maybe finding an opossum size cricket bleeding out on my kitchen linoleum wasn’t the strangest thing. Though when I discovered the monstrosity splayed out and gushing in the room where I prepared, cooked and frequently even ate my food; at that moment, I didn’t actually believe I could experience anything stranger.
Perhaps stranger than that was the way it stared back at me, almost communicating some foreign empathy across the short space between us, looking more like an extraterrestrial sentience inhabiting a carapace UFO. It seemed to seek out my eyes, even as I sought to look away, I felt my gaze drawn back to the segmented creature, to see if I could detect an authentic spark of intelligence. Perhaps even a kind of kinship, inside this alien thing I could never have imagined existing, much less explaining how such a creature had found its way into my goddamn kitchen!
Poem of the Week
who have experienced
on a large
i tell raif
i think my
might be dead
haven't seen her
& her car hasn't moved
for two weeks.
you would smell it
passing me a plate
of triangular shaped bread
slathered in jam.
Story of the Week
DARLEEN SQUEELED into the empty spot as soon as the gleaming white Mercedes pulled out. "We got lucky," she told Montana. "Even on a Monday night, this lot is killer."
Montana rolled her big blue eyes. "Whatever."
The eleven year old had better things to do, like text her friends. Incessantly, as if she had a tic. The kid hadn't wanted to shop tonight, but Darleen insisted. This was their first Christmas without Paulie and the girls needed to stick together. Darleen's ex had been nasty lately and mediation had hit a cement wall. Montana wasn't aware how dangerously close they were to losing access to Paulie's vast and unreported wealth.
Montana sighed dramatically as she yanked open the door of the Porsche Cayenne and tumbled out. She didn't pause in her texting.
Darlene checked her face in the rearview mirror. The most recent fat transfer had been wildly successful. She loved her new lips. Grabbing her Gucci bag, she hopped out of the front seat.
Her daughter trailed her into the mall, thumbs flashing on her phone keypad.