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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Microfiction: 210 words
By Richard Holinger

Listen to What I’m Telling You


In those days, downpours came and went like the coyote, without reserve. Steady rains stayed longer than a nosy neighbor. In those days, it was too much water, not too much sun.

That’s a wrench. You tighten things with it.

I know you’re bored. It’s the human condition. Learn like me to repair the vehicles and your mind will relent to being shut inside.

No. The rays will fry you. We’ll have you for dinner with a side of canned beans.

I don’t care what Lindsey’s parents let her do. You know how Lindsey got her face wrapped in gauze? You want to look like a lava flow, there’s the door. I’m working on these brakes.

If you don’t stop climbing on those batteries, I will give you back to your father.

Oh, so now you listen. That man still instills fear? Principles rule his nature.

Hand me those pliers, please. No, that’s a tuba. Put your lips together and spit into the mouthpiece. It will come back to you, just like memories of living with your father and me.

That is not a woodpecker. That’s the car’s owner. Or his guards. It might also be your father.

In any case, mind the sun.

Richard Holinger’s
Issue 23 (April 2024)

work has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Hobart, Iowa Review, KYSO Flash, and MacQueen’s Quinterly, and has garnered four Pushcart Prize nominations. His books include North of Crivitz (poetry, Kelsay Books) and Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences (essays, Dreaming Big Press). He holds a doctorate from UIC and lives far enough northwest of Chicago to see fox, deer, turkeys, herons, and eagles cross the field and lake beyond his windows.

Author’s website: https://www.richardholinger.net/

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