Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 50
buck moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Frank along the Cumbres and Toltec, by Kathleen Frank

new works

Slawka G Scarso

When You Tell Your Wife ‘You're a Cow’ One Time Too Many

It starts as an itch in your skin. Arms first, then legs. As the itch grows around your ankles, you can’t resist scratching. But the more your nails dig, the more they reveal not sore skin, but hairs. More hairs than you've ever had. And everywhere. You stare at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Amused, confused, concerned.
In the kitchen, you ask your wife if this thing happening isn’t strange, as if you needed confirmation. Your legs feel heavier now. You put your hands on your hips and feel them grow under your fingers, pushing your arms wider. Your shoulders feel heavier too, like you have the weight of all the world on you – how many times have you complained about that? Before you know it, you’re on all fours, and you stare at your hands on the floor, but they’re no longer hands. They are hoofs, knocking on the kitchen floor as you tap in wonder.
You look up at your wife. She’s watching you, doing nothing. Why is she doing nothing? You try to shout, Help me, but all that comes out of your mouth is Mooo... Mooo... Mooo...
She smirks at you, then pats you on the shoulders. She ties a rope around your neck and starts to pull. She takes you out onto the patio.
‘You don’t want to get stuck in the house, do you? And you’ll enjoy the fresh air,’ she says. ‘There’s plenty of grass too. Good that you never had the time to cut it, right?’
Another smirk.
She disappears, and when she’s back she has two buckets. One she fills with water – in case you get thirsty. The other she places close to you. She pulls out a stool. Eyes your belly. That’s when you feel your nipples. There are more than just two. And you think, No, she cannot do this. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right.
‘I’ll be gentle,’ she says. How many times have you said those words without meaning them? And does she mean them now?
Soon women start to queue in front of your house. They give you a pet on the head, then leave with batches of yoghurt. On the label, it says it’s full of natural probiotics, and antioxidants. Your wife must be making a fortune because she calls a building company to add the annex you never wanted to build, pretending it would be impossible to get a permit. She sets her office there.
One summer evening, before the second milking, she takes her computer to the garden, and tells you she has launched an online shop, now.
‘The business is growing fast,’ she says. She winks before she goes inside to fetch the bucket.
The computer is still on. You move closer to see the latest tab on her browser and dream of your previous life. You’ll never know if she meant to leave it like that for you to find out, but all you see are photos of huge, heavy bulls.

Slawka G. Scarso is a copywriter, translator and lecturer. She has published flash and micros in Fractured Lit, Ellipsis Zine, FlashBack Fiction, Ghost Parachute and others. Her debut novella in flash “All Their Favourite Stories” was commended in the 2022 Bath Novella in Flash Award and is available from Ad Hoc Fiction. Two of her stories will be featured in the 2023 Best Microfiction Anthology. She lives between Rome and Milan with her husband and her dog, Tessa. More words on Twitter as @nanopausa and www.nanopausa.com.