Strawberry Daiquiris and a Hot Summer Night

A short story by Ed Higgins


A hot summer night walks into a bar and orders a drink. A frozen strawberry daiquiri with lots of crushed ice, she says. She brings with her the slightly fragrant scent of roses from outside, and a dusky, green hint of the ripening cornfield across the highway. A large, neglected rosebush outside in a half-whiskey barrel sits to the left of the green, padded vinyl door. Its leaves brittle, desiccated petals falling from wilted blooms, stark thorns you could make a halo for Jesus with. Sitting at the bar with her strawberry daiquiri, the hot summer night’s hair is limp and disheveled from the evening’s muggy air. The bartender knows her kind. She’s hot but likely poor material for a pick-up. She may be good for a couple of drinks. Another strawberry daiquiri? he asks, picking up the twenty she has left on the bar. His interest is piqued and the place isn’t particularly busy since the air conditioning broke down a couple of days ago. He’s played hell trying to get a service technician out here to fix the damn thing with all the heat-wave breakdowns apparently going around. The hot summer night is plain vanilla but not unattractive. She has a slight bead of sweat along her upper lip and the dark hair at her temples is clearly damp. Warm night out there, he says, trying a subtle approach. Sorry about the air conditioning, been out for a couple of days now. But she doesn’t care about the lost air conditioning. The hot summer night knows that even in the midst of a long, stultifying summer, rain earlier in the day leaving its mugginess, the corn harvest beginning soon—we are all nonetheless ineluctably approaching death’s long winter. She smiles, letting the bartender continue hitting on her. The hot summer night is serious enough without ever yielding to it. She orders a second strawberry daiquiri.


Edward Higgins’ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including Monkeybicycle, Tattoo Highway, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Blue Print Review, among others. Higgins and his wife live on a small farm in Yamhill, Oregon, raising a menagerie of animals including an alpaca named Machu-Picchu.

Higgins is the assistant fiction editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction, an Ireland-based flash journal.

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I Give You Permission to Drink Out of My Skull When I’m Dead

A poem by P. L. Munn


The dream of coming home to you

is a dead dream, and it’s been dead

for quite some time. I am who I am,

but I am also who I was. Improved?

Yes, but I haven’t forgotten who I was,

and I live with that every day. I won’t

apologize for the mistakes I’ve made

because those mistakes helped me

become who I am. Why should I feel

sorry for doing what made me who I

am today? Why live under the chance

that I could have been someone else

had I not made those mistakes? You

are a ghost to me these days, who

comes to me late at night, on my

sleepless nights, where I stay awake

and ramble on and on and on and on

and on about you, and those days

are few and far between. Buckshot,

missing the target I’ve locked on to,

but spreading about everywhere.

For the stings of injuries dealt to me,

I also dealt to you several injuries.

Should I be forgiven? Probably not.

Do I forgive myself? Never. That’s

not the point. The point is that we

are who we are, and I don’t know

you anymore, but I know myself

more than I ever did before. So,

when I die, don’t grieve. Just lay a

half-empty pack of Pall Malls and

a bottle of Wild Turkey and a copy

of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” atop

my corpse. And I give you permission

to drink out of my skull when I’m dead,

as long as you believe that I never in

my life meant to hurt anyone, ever.