Sunday, March 22, 2009

Flash Fiction by Luca Penne

Flash Fiction
by Luca Penne

Poe Old Poe

By strolling across the keyboard the cat composes another poetic funeral. This one, featuring a fiery red casket with gold lining, reveals the corpse of Edgar Allan Poe, sober at last. I’ve enjoyed living in this corpse, but agree it’s time to shed it in favor of a sea-green Brooks Brothers blazer with blue and red striped tie, blue button-down trousers supported by a belt of one-inch hemp roping, and khaki shirt zipped to my chin. The cat, meanwhile, is eager to get out and dig to his elbows in the garden, scouring moles from their lairs—moles in little weskits, moles smoking tiny corncob pipes.

Poe looks happy, as I remember being when he and I were one beneath the pie-faced moon of Providence where we shared that necrophiliac girlfriend with the greenish gaze and hair the color of the hemp around my waist. The cat wails in various fruity pastels. The casket groans and Poe sits up and affixes me with a wave. “Be seeing you,” he smirks as the casket drops into the spring mud. A cough of high explosives resounds from the trench. So he was a suicide bomber. That means we both were. The cat smiles that Marilyn Manson cat smile and the keyboard clabbers a funeral mass so high only the most pedophilic priest can perform it.


Emptying the Boxes

When I kiss a young woman, orgasm is just around the corner like a U.P.S. truck with a special delivery—she can count on that. Ask Jessie who cleans my ears with a straw and sometimes dabs the crust off my chin with a little Witch Hazel. Ask Brittany who cats around my ancestral home as though she’s looking for a mouse to kill and says I’m the greatest lover who ever blew wind in her ear. And ask Mandy who taught me how to avoid bruising and how to get out of the screaming lotus without injuring myself again.

After love I’m sleepy as smoke and the ghost of my wife hovers, warning me not to sign anything. Quarters clink in a cup. Something drips and drips. I hold my bowels and my pee, waiting for the fog to clear or a bell to ring or the voice of my mother, in corset and lipstick, smoking a cigarette, to snap me awake for my chores.

Three times each week, Shelly, my massage therapist gives me deep tissue massage. “Relax,” she says, “You’re famous. Now let me get in there.” I’m not sure where in there is, but before too long I’m screaming in pain under her muscular shoulders and sharp fingers.

I sweat over pages, emptying boxes of memories, everything that anyone would want to know about how I became a legend.
Once Eliot advised me, “If you want the pleasure of female companionship, aim for the center of the pot and clean up the puddle. When I told Ez this, he remarked, “Eliot’s lucky he can even find the pot, let alone hit it dead center.”

What’s left of my hair sticks up funny and when I look in a mirror or window, something is missing, but no one notices so I must still be okay. My friends no longer even remember what it feels like to have a good hard on, and in truth, half of what I say about myself I read in someone else’s book, but I remember every last dime that’s owed to me, every last favor that needs to be repaid and I’m not letting anyone off the hook.

Author bio:

Luca Penne earned an MFA from Southwestern Missouir State U and runs a ski lift at Killington Peak in Vermont. In the off season he builds barns and stables. His work has appeared in several journals, including 2River, Forge, and Heroin Love Songs.

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