Sex in a car at 210 miles per hour. They figure it out in the slow motion that occurs only when opening a window would be fatal. Her face pressed against the windshield, she feels the car phase through a kind of shuddering. She tries not to think of how he already looks like his Treasury Secretary father. Teeth like that horn thing with the little piano keyboard on one side. Everything out there moving all cat bus. People walking along both sides of the road. They must be far apart from each other, but at speed they look like they are rushing to catch up with friends. The car’s trembling turns constant. What a nice verb, she thinks. To mingle.
I usually start with a first line that comes out of nowhere, but of course its appearance is always conditioned by what I have been thinking about and what’s going on. In this case I was irritated by an image of Steven Mnuchin’s smiling face as he spoke of aims to reduce the size of pandemic aid. And maybe this is what brought to mind differences in the ways regular citizens and the super wealthy might deal with impending apocalypse. It seems likely that the rich would simply speed up their hedonism, as if their relentless and qualitatively bankrupt quest for more might reach an orgasmic eternity on the cusp of doom.
Literary Influences: Sandra Cisneros, Lydia Davis, Junot Diaz, Dagoberto Gilb, Amy Hempel, Gordon Lish, Cormac McCarthy, Jayne Anne Phillips, E. Annie Proulx, Mark Richard, James Richardson, Leslie Marmon Silko.... I have limited myself to the living here, else I would not soon stop. But I must mention that I am still mourning the loss of Russell Edson.
—Published previously in Fleas on the Dog (Issue 7, summer 2020);
appears here with author’s permission
has taught creative writing and literature at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of North Texas, and the Writer’s Garret, in Dallas. He now lives in Marfa, Texas. He is the author of This Is Not the Way We Came In, a collection of flash fiction and a flash novel (Ravenna Press), Winter Investments: Stories (Trilobite Press), and Prairie Shapes: A Flash Novel (winner of the 2004 Robert J. DeMott Prose Contest). His poems, short stories, and creative nonfictions have appeared in magazines and anthologies across the country, including Blink Ink, Cutbank, Eastern Iowa Review, New Flash Fiction Review, Star 82 Review, and Third Wednesday, among others.
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