art, fiction

Snip-Snip

Getting a haircut in a foreign country is like going to the dentist anywhere in the world; it sucks. Yet, I’d live in a dentist’s office before resorting to a man-bun, so I do what I have to do. I can tell that they can tell I am American before I open my mouth.

“Wash?”

I nod. They lead me over to the sinks. They place a large black plastic robe around me and sit me down. As always, there is no position that is pleasant for my neck and my head is so far back that I can’t comfortably breathe. They wash it twice, three times.

I sit in front of the mirror, wet. I sigh.

“Style?” The woman asks. Embarrassed, as always, I find the screen shot on my phone of some much better looking man with much better hair than me and show it to her. She looks at it, then to my hair, then back. She frowns.

“Your hair, not like this.”

I shrug, taking my phone back. “Something like this then,” I tell her. She starts cutting, I close my eyes. Then, the worst part of a haircut arrives; talk.

“Where are you from?” she asks.

I open my eyes.

“America,” I say to her reflection.

She makes a face. “Why do you come to Russia?”

I try to blow off a piece of hair that’s fallen on my lip. It’s wet.

“I like it here,” I tell her.

She makes another face. I close my eyes, again. Only a moment.

“My friend go to America before. She went and came home with girlfriend.”

I wait for more, it comes.

“It is so strange, people in America do this a lot?”

“Do what?”

“Girls making girlfriends.”

I can’t nod so I tell her, “yes, it is quite common.”

She makes a disapproving tsk. “She had a boyfriend when she left Russia, but came back with a girlfriend. She wants to marry her.”

“Yeah,” I say, instead of saying something. She continues snipping around my ears, obviously deep in thought.

“Can she do that?”

“Yeah.”

“America is strange.”

I shrug. “It’s not that unusual there. Depending on where you are from,” I say, then close my eyes.

“Do you have a Russian girlfriend?”

“Mhm.”

“Will you take her back to America?” she asks, moving around to my other side.

“We will probably visit someday. But maybe I shouldn’t, she might come back with a girlfriend,” I smirk.

The hairdresser is silent. She keeps snipping with a concerned face.

“No,” she decides, “that would not be good.”

It seems to be the last of her ideas on the matter. I sigh and close my eyes, finally.

I suffer the rest of my haircut in peace.

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Standard
art, fiction

Take a Taxi

We headed to Memphis
A city known for blues music
and segregation
(segregation is a thing
like when you’re a kid
and you try to keep your peas
out of your mashed potatoes
except you have an irrational fear of peas
and you’re a potato)
we had dinner at a place
that didn’t have any peas
they had shrimp though
and it was good–
blackened
We asked the waitress
for a place to see some blues
she told us about a place
in that part of town
(that is a thing that no one talks about
it is similar to them or those)
“Take a taxi”
she told us
“I always take a taxi
when I go out
in that part of town”
We thanked her
and ate shrimp

 

*For more of our work, check out Flash-365

Standard
art, fiction

00:45 – 00:54 Mokhovaya Ulitsa St. Petersburg, Russia

Outside my Window: 00:45 – 00:54 Mokhovaya Ulitsa St. Petersburg, Russia

it is dark. A man in a gray suit stands in the door of the bistro. He is talking to a girl in a black leather jacket. It must be cold outside. It certainly looks wet

a man walks by on his phone. He is wearing a suit coat. White shirt underneath, loose collar no tie. come to think of it, yes, the guy in the bistro. He has the same shirt. The collar is a bit wider.

The man in the black suit coat has stopped, texting. He turns around and walks back, into the bistro, past the man with the matching shirt. All this, as a couple, both wearing gray, walk by.

The man in the gray jacket, white shirt. He comes out. He has a guitar on his back, I think. It is in a gray case.

Two older men walk by. I think. One of them may be a woman. His pants are tight. He is wearing flip flops. But that tells you very little these days. He has a puffy black jacket (it must be cold) and I can’t see his face. It could be a woman. But his hair is short. But that tells you very little these days.

It is quiet.

It is empty.

A car. Gray. Not speeding.

A man walks out of the mart. Younger. Tan. Tanned by ancestry, not the sun. It looks like he bought a drink. Non-alcoholic, maybe. He texts between a white and gray car. He gets in the gray car. Drives off. It must not have been alcoholic, surely.

Two men and a woman walk by. Man, they are moving. Not running, moving. They, too, are all wearing gray, odd. They pass a man with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. He is wearing black.

Two men and a woman again. Different ones this time. Both men wear black hoodies, up. Maybe it is raining. They aren’t moving so fast.

A man walks, stops, paces. Smoking. Between the mart and bistro. He has glasses. He is not wearing gray. Oh, shit, wait. He turns. Down the front of his jacket. A fat gray stripe. It is an ugly jacket. He is an ugly man. Maybe, it is dark. He is wearing glasses. A woman passes by him in a long black coat. She looks to be floating, not aiming anywhere. He watches her approach. As she passes, he looks away briefly only to return, smirking, watching her backside as she makes her way further down the street, out of sight. A car drives by, lights on.

It turns out he is an ugly man after all.

 

Standard
art, poetry

It’s Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I fell in love with a girl named Alice
We loved each other
As one bulimic cannibal
Might love another
(Bulimics are like mailmen
but with food
Cannibals are like mailmen
Who eat other mailmen)
We did all the things
You can only do
When you’re in love
Like read each other poems
And dance in the middle of the street
To no music

Then
When the music stopped
We’d tear holes in each other
With everything
But bullets

Our conversations
Were a cacophony
Of passionate poetic lines
Like “I love her with
A red hot madness”
Or “He fell heavy on my chest
And whispered me the world”
We salted each other
With enough Bukowski-isms
To drown a class
Of teenage girls
In one biblical flood
Of angst filled love

Yet this great tower
Of poetic babel
Was brought down
In a single verse

“Why aren’t you hard?”

A question that
If turned into a weapon
Could slaughter the known universe.
Then came the storm
“Am I not hot enough for you?”
“Don’t you want to fuck me?”
“Get off me, I am going to sleep.”
Then in the morning
Like a paraplegic
Preparing for a walk
I held her close
And kissed her neck
She reached down
And grabbed my penis and balls
All at once
And mashed them together
She laughed
“That’s what I thought”

After a week
She showed me an article
On her phone
It said
“Food for harder erections”
It had a picture of a banana
(A thing that looks like a penis
but you eat it, unless you’re a cannibal
then you eat both)
Half peeled
And said
“A hard man needs a healthy heart.”

“Your heart is weak”
she told me
and that was that
oh well.

 

Standard
art, fiction

Wrinkles in Time

I started teaching A Wrinkle in Time to one of my students. I thought it would be appropriate for his level since I’d never read it.

Around half way through the first chapter, he stops me.

“High school?” he asks.

I nod. I point at him. “Elementary school,” I say. “Then, Middle school,” I continue, laying my hand flat and rising it a little.

“And University?” he asks.

“After high school.”

He nods. I smile. I ladder my hands as I repeat.

“Elementary, Middle school, high school, then, university.”

“Ah,” he says, he mimics my motions.

“Elementary school, Middle School, High School, then, work?”

I nod.

“Then,” he screws up his face, “death?”

He drags his finger across his throat and his tongue falls out of his mouth. His head falls to his chest. He tries not to smile.

“I suppose so,” I say. He laughs, I laugh.

He makes the dead motion again, killing the joke.

“Well, you know, there is retirement,” I say, awkwardly.

He frowns, “like, before death?”

I nod.

“Like my grandma?”

I shrug, “Probably.”

He looks thoughtful for a moment.

“She’s dying,” he decides, looking sad.

“Oh,” I try to look empathetic, “sorry.”

He nods his head.

“But, so, yeah, that’s what high school is,” I say. “Should we continue?”

He nods, picking up the book, and continuing to read.

 

 

Standard

headbobbed

fiction

Bye.

Image