130 MPH

A flash piece by Mitchell Grabois


1.

Mr. Schenectady and his God were sitting in the ruined schoolhouse, the one Mr. S. lives in, the one with the roof falling in, next to the barn with the roof entirely gone, next to the overgrown grave of the farmer who plowed with horses until he was well into his eighties, next to a proud, 500-foot-tall American turbine, its blades spinning slowly.

2.

Historically, God had compassion for whores and lepers (reasoned Reverend Anne, a 60-year-old minister who’d retired from her first career as an English teacher) so He would also have compassion for the much maligned Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, even though Christie was a blowhard, a braggart and a bully, mired in political scandal, some involving political revenge. They know about revenge in New Jersey. It was where Tony Soprano, the Mafia boss, lived. Soprano and Christie were both big fat men who demanded respect and sneered a lot. They would have enjoyed a cigar together and a single malt whiskey neat. Reverend Anne thought Christie deserved some compassion to temper the contempt that the general public felt for him. She began to study him, looking in the nooks and crannies of his life, looking in the many folds of his skin, for praiseworthy qualities, but then she realized the obvious: that God’s love was unconditional, and she stopped looking.

3.

The turbine contemplates violence (because that’s what Americans do), angelic violence, in which wings beat like a goose wings beating a child near to death, traumatizing him for life, making him unable to even see a bird without nearly shitting his pants well into adulthood. An American Child who hadn’t even been to war yet. But wars were being prepared for him, to complete the damage begun in his childhood.

4.

I think I need some of Anne’s unconditional acceptance. I think my dentist does too. I told her (my dentist) that if she didn’t stop stalking me, I’d call the cops and have her arrested.

She looked hurt. We live together, she said. How can I be stalking you?

5.

The American Child’s first ex-wife filled his house with parakeets before she left him, her final Fuck You.

6.

Despite the apparent rationality of her question, I had her by the short hairs. Since she raped me, when I was in her dental chair, my first appointment, flying on nitrous oxide, she gets edgy if I mention cops, even if it’s something as innocent as telling her about the sinister black police cars new to our city’s department. They look like Batmobiles, the officers avengers of the night behind smoked glass.

7.

Mr. Schenectady wears a red flannel shirt. His God wears plaid pajamas, the same pajamas he wears day and night. He’s Mr. Schenectady’s God, so he can do whatever he wants. Mr. Schenectady brings him glasses of Welch’s Grape Juice without ice. When he wants more, God snaps his fingers.

8.

We get up to 130 mph. We terrify ourselves. Then we stop at the junkyard to study cars, like philosophers studying Life, with serious expressions, waiting for mysteries to be unveiled. We see ourselves in the junkers. Bobby always sees himself as a Studebaker. He has no imagination. He once lived next to a farmer who bought a new Studebaker every year and put last year’s model into his giant, unused barn until finally there were at least fifty Studebakers. The farmer’s long-estranged son, when he finally showed up, hardly remembering the place, opened the creaky barn doors and found the four bearded Studebaker brothers, looking a lot like the mentholated-cough-drop Smith Brothers, singing celestial hymns, until they realized that they were being observed for the first time in fifty years, and the oldest was so amazed, he involuntarily farted.

9.

My dentist, my girlfriend, came home and threw off her clothes, put on a Japanese kimono that emphasized her thinness. She had the most delicate wrists I’d ever seen on a dentist, on any woman. I could snap them like toothpicks if I wanted, but why would I? Every night she filled me with nitrous until I floated on a blue cloud, into her bed, into her body.

Don’t be cruel, honey, she begged me in the Southern accent she’d almost lost. Don’t talk about calling the police on me. I love you so much, despite your bad enamel and your periodontal disease, your fear of dentists and your phobia about dental treatment, and your resentment of me.

10.

Mr. Schenectady hates drinking anything without ice. He once washed up in St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, after a significant hurricane, and there was no ice for over four months. Mr. Schenectady suffered greatly, especially as he had shacked up with a hot Caribe momma who boiled his blood twice daily, so he really needed the ice. He was not an air-cooled kind of guy. So there they were, Mr. S and his God, God drinking grape juice sans ice and Mr. S. drinking water from a WWII canteen. Time passed, and they were comfortable sitting together, not even talking.

11.

How long did it take you to get through dental school, I asked her, handing her another glass of vodka with very little tonic in it. 

I don’t know, she said. I don’t remember, but it was a long road filled with pain. The pain wasn’t mine, but that didn’t make it any easier.


Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes.  His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, and in print. To see more of his work, google “Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois”. He lives in Denver.

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Jellywash

A flash piece by Mitchell Grabois


1.

Javier Bardem, who starred as evil incarnate in No Country for Old Men, doesn’t believe in God. 

I believe in Al Pacino, he says, to start our interview. We act to taste life twice. He pauses. received a letter yesterday from Dr. Sara, regretting the position we find ourselves in.

Who’s Dr. Sara, I ask.

2.

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote Nausea after watching the Oscars. Celine wrote A Long Day’s Journey Into Night after watching the Oscars. Kurt Cobane blew his brains out.

George W. Bush invaded Iraq three days before the Oscars in 2003, his eyes set on being a Big Star, standing on the deck of a battleship, hoisted into the air by thousands of hands, whole divisions of men and women. Mission Accomplished! He saw it all unfold.

3. Dr. Sara says that being mortal is a pre-existing condition, Javier says.

4.

Maybe he could wrap it up in three days, Bush thought, before the first star hit the Red Carpet.

5.

Meanwhile, climate change keeps getting uglier. Celebrity murderers hide in storm cellars as tornadoes destroy entire states. Nebraska is gone. Oklahoma. Where there was Midwestern goodness, there is only debris. Cyclones are airborne landfills.

6.

Other minds besides Bush’s also failed to apprehend the consequences of their actions, until later. The twenty-six- year-old third mate was driving the ship. It was his first time in this treacherous channel and the captain had gone to his cabin.

The second mate suggested that the captain was an intravenous drug user, but the first mate told him to shut up, he didn’t know what he was talking about and shouldn’t feel free to malign the captain, his superior. The second mate was suspicious of the word “superior.”

7.

I wanted to be married in Vegas, in the Chapel of the Eternal Elvis, but my fiancée bullied me into the Episcopal Church, where it was damp and cool, a climate for mushrooms and imprisonment.

8.

It was then that the boat began to list. It didn’t take long. It rolled over like the third mate’s headstrong girlfriend turning over in bed. She was a white woman, nothing like the spare Koreans he had gotten used to fucking. She had round, white buttocks. In fact, he was thinking about her at the moment the ferry began to roll, how she rolled over in bed and turned on the lamp. She was reading a novel with the name of a Beatle’s song written by a famous Japanese writer whose name he could never remember. Every time he tried to think of the man’s name, all he could come up with was Hari Kari, and he knew that wasn’t it.

9.

Whales have stopped beaching themselves, no one knows why. Dolphins have stopped acting Uncle Tom. They wear snarls and hatch plans.

10.

She was reading the book in Japanese. He himself never read fiction and did not know Japanese. The students in their cabins texted their parents goodbye, apologized for all the misdeeds they had done, or not done, as children. George Bush, on his victory battleship, and later, never apologized for his many crimes versus humanity. Only the innocent apologize.

11.

The priest couldn’t decide if he wanted us to end the ceremony by kissing passionately or chastely. We practiced doing it several different ways and he critiqued us, then joined us for rehearsal dinner at a Thai restaurant. The priest ordered a cheeseburger, drank several mixed drinks, then delivered a diatribe against “Asiatics.” They’re taking over the world, he said.

12.

The bodies of the students whimpered like the wings of trapped manta rays. There was a jellywash of entombed bodies in the muddy tide, the water dark and secretive, septic even. There was a moment when nearly three hundred students’ lives blinked out, like the lights in a barracks or dormitory.


Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes.  His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, and in print. To see more of his work, google “Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois”. He lives in Denver.