Pegs hauls me to the Circle, Happeningville after the sun takes a dip, the bull’s eye of this citrus-packed megalopolis. Follow the orangey aroma wafting from a twiggy stairwell, my sister, up to the reddish-pinkish cocoon, my brother, sowed with a scattering of tables filched from Val Vista High’s cafeteria eons ago. See, there! cry I. Such lovely reposes of Hi-Dee-Ho, Merrymellow, Tom-in-o’-willows, Frank, and Father Frank, the Senior. Rotary phones (filched from the Radio Shack on the corner) jangle their urgent bells, so leisure time takes a break. The citrusy cocoon fills with huzzahs of I love you like my sister, sister & You got to love you like I love you, brother & Lay it heavy on me, sister & Dig it, I know those old stomping grounds, brother, those wrecked hovels & Giving up is giving in but taking tightly hold is rising up and streaking free.
Far! Out! Off comes my patchwork jeans, day-glo tee. I’m a comet’s tail–I streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak! Taking the twiggy stairs one- hop-two-hop-three-hop-four–Pegs and the others hot on my heels. I duck into a moon-dappled orchard, lo yonder branches dangling their pulpy orbs in the shadows. But instead of their ambrosial sweetness, a gnarly funk chokes me. Alas, I’m corralled by Pegs and the others, a pig to slaughter.
Hey, Pegs! What’s with the housewifery get up, apron, rolling pin, and all? And Heidi–what’s with sporting the blue-haired, swinging-cane look? What’s with the shorty hairdo, Mary, the balding dome, Tom, the red round countenances? You look like my Nixon-lovin’ parents on a tear! Little Franklin, what’s with the squarish stache? And Father Francis from Fresno in a fedora?! How y’all get so balefully...old?
They sneer. I guffaw. They stone me with spoiled fruit.
is the author of Straight Down the Road
(Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019), The Wind, It Swirls
(Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2021) and Blur
(Cowboy Jamboree Press, 2023). His writing appears in Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, JMWW, Milk Candy Review, Atticus Review
and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter