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The Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York (US), and Lisbon (Portugal). Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. Most of our content comes from unsolicited submissions.
We publish print, digital, and online editions of our magazine twelve times a year. Online edition is updated continuously. There are no charges for reading the magazine online.
Through our imprint Adelaide Books, we publish novels, memoirs, and collections of short stories, poems, and essays by contributing authors of our magazine. We believe that in doing so, we best fulfill the mission outlined in Adelaide Magazine.

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Published by istinadba, 2019-07-04 15:28:30

Adelaide Literary Magazine No. 25, June 2019

The Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York (US), and Lisbon (Portugal). Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. Most of our content comes from unsolicited submissions.
We publish print, digital, and online editions of our magazine twelve times a year. Online edition is updated continuously. There are no charges for reading the magazine online.
Through our imprint Adelaide Books, we publish novels, memoirs, and collections of short stories, poems, and essays by contributing authors of our magazine. We believe that in doing so, we best fulfill the mission outlined in Adelaide Magazine.

Keywords: fiction,nonfiction,poetry,short stories,essays,book reviews

INDEPENDENT REVISTA
MONTHLY LITERÁRIA
LITERARY INDEPENDENTE
MAGAZINE
MENSAL

ADELAIDE FOUNDERS / FUNDADORES
Stevan V. Nikolic & Adelaide Franco Nikolic
Independent Monthly Literary Magazine
Revista Literária Independente Mensal EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR-CHEFE
Year IV, Number 25, June 2019 Stevan V. Nikolic
Ano IV, Número 25, Junho 2019
editor@adelaidemagazine.org
ISBN-13: 978-1-950437-74-0
ISBN-10: 1-950437-74-4 MANAGING DIRECTOR / DIRECTORA EXECUTIVA
Adelaide Franco Nikolic
Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent inter-
na onal monthly publica on, based in New York and GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN
Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Adelaide Books LLC, New York
Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality
poetry, fic on, nonfic on, artwork, and photography, as CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE
well as interviews, ar cles, and book reviews, wri en in
English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding Peter Crowley, Catherine Link, Mary
literary fic on, nonfic- on, and poetry, and to promote Elizabeth Cartwright, Mitchell Krockmalnik
the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and Grabois, Abraham Assed, Aholaah Arzah,
established authors reach a wider literary audience.
Alberto Ambard, Jamie Gogocha, Allen
A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação men- Tukes, Eoin O'Donnell, Chris Cooper, Paul
sal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Kivelson, Ivan De Luce, Gary Erwin, Kevin
Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Ade- Haslam, Julian Darragja , Edith Tarbescu,
laide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objec vo da revista é
publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de Michael Walker, Beth Weaver, Louis
qualidade assim como entrevistas, ar gos e crí cas Gallo, Adina Sara, Joanna Kadish, Megan
literárias, escritas em inglês e por-tuguês. Pretendemos Madramootoo, MIlton Montague, Jane
publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim Babson, Robin Fasano, Dale Dewoody,
como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudan- Marc Carver, Mark Jamieson, John Kaniecki,
do os autores novos e emergentes a a ngir uma audiên-
cia literária mais vasta. Steven Goff, George Held, Mukund
Gnanadesikan, Diarmuid ó Maolalaí,
(h p://adelaidemagazine.org) Douglas Polk, Kevin Keane, Gabriele Super,
by Mariah Swartz, William Miller, Peycho
Published by: Adelaide Books, New York Kanev, Stephen Reilly, Stella Prince, Daniel
244 Fi h Avenue, Suite D27 King, Mickey J. Corrigan, Diana Papazian
New York NY, 10001
e-mail: info@adelaidemagazine.org
phone: (917) 477 8984
h p://adelaidebooks.org

Copyright © 2019 by Adelaide Literary Magazine

All rights reserved. No part of this publica on may be
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without wri en
permission from the Adelaide Literary Maga-zine
Editor-in-chief, except in the case of brief quo-ta ons
embodied in cri cal ar cles and reviews.


CONTENTS / CONTEÚDOS

EDITOR’S NOTES NONFICTION
Quotes from the novel WEEKEND IN FARO FAMILIAR STRANGERS by Adina Sara 142
By Stevan V. Nikolic 5 BREASTFEEDING BLUES by Joanna Kadish 144
NOTHING THERE by Megan Madramootoo 151
FICTION FATHER JOHN by MIlton Montague 156
PLATYPUS by Peter Crowley 7 LOST AND RE FOUND by Jane Babson 158
POSTERS By Catherine J. Link 11 IN KABUL by Robin Fasano 164
LICKS by Mary Elizabeth Cartwright 13
COOLNESS POETRY
by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois 22 HIGHWAY MIRAGE by Dale Dewoody 166
DOING OKAY by Abraham Assed 24 BRUCE LEE by Marc Carver 169
BUTTON TIN by Aholaah Arzah 30 THE BICYCLE by Mark Jamieson 170
JULIA IN BLOOM by Alberto Ambard 35 LIFE OF A POET by John Kaniecki 173
THE MAN ON THE EDGE OF THE TOWN THE WALT WHITMAN BRIDGE
by Jamie Gogocha 40 by Steven Goff 176
FROM BAUHAUS TO DACHAU REVOLT by George Held 179
by Allen Levaniel 45 TOO MANY WORDS
TWENTY FOUR HOURS IN PARIS by Mukund Gnanadesikan 182
by Eoin O’Donnell 56 THE HUMAN SPIRIT byDiarmuidóMaolalaí 184
JUDITH by Chris Cooper 65 THE STATE OF AFFAIRS by Douglas Polk 188
A SACRED TRADITION by Paul Kivelson 70 APRIL CHILDREN by Kevin Keane 190
DREAMLESSNESS by Ivan De Luce 74 TENDER by Gabriele Super 192
EXCHANGE OF WORDS by Gary Erwin 84 MABEL YU WITNESS by Mariah Swartz 195
REFUSE by Kevin Haslam 90 A STATUE OF MARY by William Miller 198
THE BLOOD BEARER by Julian Darragja  95 A PIECE OF TIME by Peycho Kanev 203
BELFAST BLUES by Edith Tarbescu 104 FOUR MILES TO ARCADIA
SOMEBODY’S COMING TO TOWN by Stephen Reilly 205
by Michael Walker 113 A PURPLE SHADOW by Stella Prince 210
HAWAII IN A BOX by Beth Weaver 123 KA OCEAN by Daniel King 211
FLING MAN by Louis Gallo 133 TEXAS TOWER by Mickey J. Corrigan 214
A PLACE CALLED HOME by Diana Papazian 219

3


Quotes from the novel
WEEKEND IN FARO

“Many legends were made, stories wri en, He wanted so much to be that man. He felt
monuments built—all witnessing the ef- like he never wanted to leave her dream.”
forts of men to secure the successful voy-
age of their souls into the world of eternal “…these books have their own integ-
dreams.” rity, their own iden ty. It is not about the
words in there. You don’t need to read
“In the material world below, she al- these books. Words are there to confuse
ways felt lonely and there was nobody to you. They are just messing around with
understand her true nature. She always your mind. You have to look beyond words.
knew that she didn’t belong to the world of There is a big secret somewhere in these
humans. She thought they were all posses- books and I am going to find it. And you
sive and had limited ways of thinking. She know that, but you are afraid to admit it. It
always kept longing for her true home and is dangerous.”
could never find it.”
“Finally, he came to the point in life
“…there are simply no words that would when he started believing whatever it was
be worthy of describing their encoun- that he was missing must have not been
ter. And if any narrator ever tries to come of this world. Otherwise, he would have
up with some details, it would be only to found it already. He decided to start an
arouse the readers’ lust, and would not do inner search for what he truly wanted. He
jus ce to what happened that night be- wanted to understand himself in order to
tween Nini and the young woman whose find peace and happiness.”
dream he invaded. It was just a glorious ex-
perience of two bodies mel ng in one, two “She could be anybody and she could pre-
souls uni ng in one, two hearts bea ng tend to be whomever she wants to be. With
with the same beat, and two spirits becom- social media and internet communica ons,
ing one. Yes, it was a dream.” everything is virtual. Social media is full of
fake and sick people deceiving each other and
“Nini was looking at her face, so pure, so fantasizing to be something they are not.”
innocent, and so angelic. He was wonder-
ing about the man that she thought he was. “Your mind always follows your heart.
That will never change. The one good thing

5


Adelaide Literary Magazine

about you is that you are a survivor. You can just the product of my imagina on and of
survive and get out of any situa on. The my desire to love and be loved. Would I be
bad part about it is that in the process you able to make this dream come true or was I
always uninten onally hurt others as well heading into disillusionment and tragedy?”
as yourself. Did you ever ask yourself how
long you will be able to go this way? What- “Your love is so pure, so deep, so uni-
ever you are a er in your life, is it worth it?” versal, expressed to the whole of crea on,
that direc ng your love to one single per-
“However, in the virtual world of social son o en seemed to you like a limita on of
networks, we get a racted to iden es your feelings, like the loss of the freedom
that are virtual. We don’t know who is be- to be who you really are. I understand all
hind them and what their inten ons are. that. You were longing for the man that will
Some mes, they are just predators looking understand and love you the same way you
for easy prey. And they are very good at love, without asking from you what you
what they do.” couldn’t give.”

“Besides her family, the only other per- “You say, you can’t live without hope? My
manent part of her life was with her friends friend, hope is our biggest enemy. It does not
online. She could be with them at any me, bring realiza on. It just prolongs suffering.”
anywhere she was. She could talk to them
about anything. It was her own virtual “There is something called posi ve
world and her parents could not interfere thinking that people o en confuse with
or comment on it, but she had dreams too. hope. But it is different. Posi ve thinking
And her dreams included a man—a man is a state of mind, while hope is a useless
that she created in her dreams and thought state of the heart. Posi ve thinking is about
that she would never find in the real world. doing and hope is about feeling. So, posi-
Then, suddenly, Michael showed up claim-
ing to be that man.” ve thinking is what you need.”

“How much of it was real. How much of “I also know that I was not the only seek-
it was just a dream. Is it possible that all of er of the Holy Grail. One day, somebody will
it was just a play between two lonely peo- be worthy enough. All that is le for me are
ple? Was this woman the one I really love or my memories—the weekend in Faro, when
I was so close to it and so happy and so in
love.”

6


PLATYPUS

by Peter Crowley

One morning there was a platypus walk- A er making our way through the dense
ing through our backyard. I awoke my wife copse of trees and brush on our backyard’s
and suggested that we take some photo- border, we emerged into an empty verdant
graphs. She agreed and perched by the meadow. The platypus had vanished.
window, ready to snap pictures on her
phone. We trudged back to the house in down-
trodden mien. Our dreams and fantasies,
“Why don’t you go outside?” I suggested. encapsulated in ma er of minutes, of the
“You’ll probably get a be er shot out there.” possibili es of having a pet platypus had
come to not. The rest of the day seemed
She looked at me, not without a mild laden with vacuity. Our lives had returned
dose of trepida on, “But, what if it bites? to the boredom of everyday reading, work,
Are they known to be dangerous to people?” ea ng, gardening and drinking alcohol.
It seemed that the poten al of having a
I smiled, musing aloud, “There’s no such platypus had eclipsed our lives in such a
thing a dangerous ‘wild animal’. It’s people profound way that, unknowingly, we had
who pose the greatest danger to themselves.” invested our all into this. Without the
platypus, our lives were undiscovered lith-
We went to the edge of our back porch ic fragments at an archaeological site or
to get as close as possible to the platypus bluestones from prehistoric Welsh quar-
that was now scouring the ground for in- ries, forgo en on their journey to the dru-
sect larvae. For a short while, it seemed to ids’ Stonehenge masterpiece. Without the
take li le no ce of us, except for emi ng platypus, we would not depict astronomy
an ini al befuddled grunt as we stepped as had the druids, nor we harvest wild
outside. wheat on the Hilly Flanks. Instead, the two
of us were confined to our house of fixated
But a er Sarah whispered to me, “May-
be we could keep it as our pet,” the animal me.
looked up at us with consterna on – it was
now the fearful one – before brusquely 
turning around and disappearing behind
the brush at the edge of our backyard. Each day a er that, we gazed out our back
window, a vast hope welling within us. And,
“Let’s follow it!” Sarah exclaimed, as if an each day there were none other than spar-
expedi on leader. I shrugged and went along
with her.

7


Adelaide Literary Magazine

rows, robins, chipmunks and an occasional The platypus was not moving very quick-
muskrat passing by. ly but looked pre y angry. Then I jumped
on it, contained it and we succeeded in ty-
We started to give up hope. ing it up with rope.

One morning I awoke up to a shriek. “Let’s put it in the basement, for now at
least,” I suggested as we carried it towards
“A burglar? Had my wife taken a fall?” I the house.
wondered, rushing down the stairs.
Eventually we got a cage for the ani-
The house was empty. I opened the mal, named him Cam and kept it in our
front door; there was nothing. living room. We learned from some online
research that platypuses were highly in-
Then, another shriek followed by, “Come telligent and could be used by humans for
here Joe! I caught him! Help me bring him many things like assis ng with unspoken in-
inside!” terpersonal communica on through their
reading of visual cues, as de facto insect re-
I bolted to the backyard and saw my pellants and, once well-trained, could even
wife struggling to contain the platypus in a perform special deliveries on holidays if the
see-through plas c trash bag. recipient was instructed to give the platy-
pus a good p with the food that they like,
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked, such as shrimp or crayfish. Our platypus had
thinking my wife had gone completely mad. learned to do all this but had seemed to do
much more – what more is hard to explain
“Get some rope!” she ordered, ignoring and I really can’t put my finger on it. But it
my ques on. has certainly changed our lives forever and
I cannot imagine what our lives would be
“No, we can’t do this! What are we go- like without him. It would probably be like
ing to do with him?” living in the Dark Ages or something.

“We will keep him! He’ll have a nice life To be honest, some days we don’t leave
with us,” she responded, not looking up as the house anymoe. It’s either a weekend
she tried to press the platypus’s bill into the or Sarah and I are both supposed to be
bag. working from home and end up si ng on
the couch in front of the platypus’s cage
“This is ridiculous. Let the animal go!” and stare at the animal. If someone were
to glance through our window during these
The platypus was star ng to break extended me periods, they would likely
through the plas c bag. It succeeded and see a man and wife gaping, almost stupe-
my wife was struggling to keep it from mov- fied with their mouths slightly ajar, at wild
ing. I don’t remember what got into me, animal in a cage. But certainly it is more
but suddenly I sprinted towards the house, than this. Hours dissipate, mel ng like Da-
went inside to grab something and was li’s surreal clocks. This animal has seemed
back to where Sarah had been struggling to transform all the extra space in our lives,
with the platypus in less than a minute. where once rested doubts; misgivings; anx-
ie es and disintegrated them. I really can’t
Yet they were both gone. I saw some
movement through the copse at the end
of the backyard and ran in that direc on.
In the meadow behind our yard, Sarah was
following the platypus, cajoling it, “Come
on, my platypus, we won’t hurt you...”

8


Revista Literária Adelaide

tell you how or why this happens…it just I turned off the car, called my friends and
kind of happens! told them the truth: our pet insisted that
we stay in. I’m sure they thought us odd,
These days some cri cs will say that pets as they have not asked out to go out since.
can exert substan al and even detrimental Though, really, what do we care.
control over their owners. Yet I know that’s
not true and probably only happens in the So, what could we do? We had to s ll
rarest of cases. live and func on, right? We s ll had to go
to work and socialize with people, because
However, on occasion this may happen we certainly were not hermits. So, we ad-
to us. For example, on a Friday night not justed.
long ago, Sarah and I were supposed to go
out to dinner with another couple whom We decided to get cochlear implants
we’ve long known. The platypus seemed to that have recordings of an extensive vari-
watch us get ready with intense curiosity. ety of our platypus’s sounds. Also, we pur-
As we neared the front door to leave, the chased digitalized contact lenses that allow
platypus bleated a call of distress. us to see more than one hundred images
of Cam if we blink twice. This way we can
“Oh!…Cam is upset that we’re going go into the outside world and it appears as
out…Maybe we should just stay here?” Sar- if we were engaging with others in work or
ah asked, frowning. social se ngs, but we have our platypus’s
photos and vocal sounds readily available.
“No way,” I answered, point-blank. “We Occasionally, or perhaps
have plans - let’s keep them.”
more than occasionally (haha!), we both
She nodded and we got into the car. But miss instruc ons that people give us at
Sarah looked pityingly towards the house. work or things our friends say to us.
“I can s ll hear his baleful call,” she said in
a sad voice, looking at me with beseeching Overall, my wife and I con nue to be
eyes. I didn’t respond and looked straight moderately successful both at work and
ahead. in our social lives. Yet, I must admit, some-

As I was about to back out of the drive- mes we get the “Didn’t you hear what I
way, Sarah has ly got out of the car, saying just said?” or “Weren’t you listening at the
in a desperate voice, “I can’t leave Cam! mee ng when we discussed so and so?”
You can go meet them – tell them I’m sick.
But I’m not going.” Honestly, though, this does not phase
us in the least. Our platypus has become
She walked brusquely towards the so integral to our lives that we dreed even
house. I sat in the car thinking, “This platy- imaging a world without him…such a world
pus is changing us in ways I never imagined would be truly unlivable.
it would…it seems to rule our lives.”

9


Adelaide Literary Magazine

About the Author:

Peter Crowley is an independent writer and scholar with a M.S. in Conflict Resolu on, Global
Studies from Northeastern University. He works as Content Specialist/Produc on Coordina-
tor for a prominent library science company. For fun, he plays in bluesy rock band around
the Boston/NYC area. His wri ngs can be found in Boston Literary Magazine, Mint Press
News, (several publica ons in) Wilderness House Literary Review, 34th Parallel Magazine,
Counterpunch, Foreign Policy Journal, Work Literary Magazine, Opiate Magazine, Truthout,
Green Fuse Press, An war.com, Rhinocero c, Peace Studies Journal, Ethnic Studies Review
(forthcoming), Libertarian Ins tute, Middle East Monitor, Dissident Voice, Inquiries Journal
and a periodical publica on of the Brookline, MA Historical Society.

10


POSTERS

By Catherine J. Link

Maureen knew she shouldn’t have let the There was a voice shou ng on the other
kids go trick or trea ng by themselves. end of the line, but she wasn’t listening.
She’d had a bad feeling about it, but when
her eleven-year-old son, promising to take “Picture it, Joe. The kids coming home
care of his li le sister, pleaded for her to early on Halloween. They had only been
trust him, she gave in. gone for about twenty minutes. They came
through the door. You should have seen
“Thanks, mom. You’re the best,” he’d their poor li le faces. It would break your
said as they went out the door. She watched heart. Oh, wait. You don’t have one of those.
them go, walking across the lawn, kicking
leaves. “And there I was, oblivious, wondering
what could be bad enough to make the kids
The Frankenstein monster and a fairy come home early?
princess, they were the center of her whole
world, especially since the divorce. She “Mommy, look at this,’ your baby girl
was watching a significant moment in their says to me. ‘Daddy’s naked.’
young lives. Their last moments of blissful
ignorance, as it turned out. That’s what she “What do you mean I should have told
was seeing as they waved goodbye, and she her it wasn’t you? Your daughter knows what
didn’t even know it. Looking back on that you look like, Joe. Especially now that she’s
moment now, she felt as though she had seen your pee pee. That’s what she asked
missed an important event, like a birthday me. ‘Is that daddy’s pee pee? Daddy should
or gradua on. She should have taken pic- have put his pants on for the picture.’”
tures.
Maureen gulped down moscato and
“I’m the best!” she shouted into the paced back and forth across the kitchen floor.
phone. “That’s what our son thinks of his
mother! Do you want to know what he “She put them in your kids’ candy bags.
thinks of his father? Thanks to that fat, jeal- How could I have intercepted them. I wasn’t
ous, oversexed homewrecker you took up there. You think I’m overreac ng? Really?
with, he thinks you’re a dirtbag. He’s em- Goddamn, I don’t believe you just said that.
barrassed to be your son. He doesn’t even Well, Joe, how does it make you feel to know
want to go back to school here. He asked if that she put them on the telephone poles
we could move to a new town.” too. Yeah, Joe. Your naked picture up there
among the lost pet posters and yard sale
signs. A lost mas ff on one side, a found gray

11


Adelaide Literary Magazine

tom cat on the other, and Joe Hopkins of “Joe,” she said. She was quiet now, lis-
Daytona Beach in the middle, showing the tening to him weep. She tried to fight the
world that those li le blue pills really work.” feeling she was ge ng in her chest, that

Maureen threw down another glass of ghtening just before a sob. “Joe, stop it.
moscato. She lit a cigare e to keep her hands You’re making me cry, too.”
busy, keeping her from tearing out her hair.
“I’m not surprised she cheated,” Mau-
“What are you telling me?” Maureen reen said. “She had a wandering eye. She
paused, then laughed. “Oh, I get it. It was cheated, then you cheated, but you’re the
revenge. She caught you chea ng on her, one with your goodies on a wanted poster.
so she plastered your love handles all over Wow. You sure know how to pick ‘em, Joe.”
town. I have to admire that. I wish I’d thought
of it back in the day.” Maureen’s tears started to fall. “I know
it’s not funny. But maybe it will be, in twen-
Joe Jr. walked into the kitchen. He was in ty years or so.”
his pajamas.
She grabbed a paper towel and wiped
“You’re smoking again, Mom,” he said. her face.
“You promised you would stop.”
“Yeah, okay,” she said. She threw the cig-
“I know, baby,” she said, waving a hand are e in the sink. “I guess we could. Tomor-
to sca er the smoky cloud surrounding her row at noon? We’ll have coffee and talk it
head. “I’m not really smoking, I’m just wav- over. We’ll figure out what to tell the kids.
ing it in the air. It gives me something to do It’ll be okay.”
with my hands. I’m not inhaling, I promise.”
Maureen hung up. She grabbed her car
“Is that Daddy?” he asked. keys.

“Yeah,” she said. “He wants to say sorry.” “Where are you going?” Joe Jr. asked her.

She handed the phone to the boy. “I’m going to the store. Want anything?”

“Yeah. I don’t know,” Joe, Jr. said. “I guess “Cookie dough ice cream?”
so. When?”
“Go to sleep. I’ll be back in a while,” she
Then he handed the phone back to her. said. She grabbed a flashlight from a shelf.

“Daddy’s crying,” he said. He handed the “I’ve got to check out some telephone
phone back to his mother and went to bed. poles.”

12


LICKS

by Mary Elizabeth Cartwright

Jud Nasery followed his twin brother, An- the road from Po er Fields. That stallion,
der, into Po er Fields, the smallest stable in and other horses from Gloria’s, had broken
Versailles, Kentucky. Every Saturday morn- every record in the racing state for nearly
ing during the summer before college, the five years. It also happened to be the sta-
two eighteen-year-olds were in charge of ble that bought the mare that Jud cursed
cleaning each stall, feeding the colts and every morning upon awakening, every me
mares, changing shoes, and repor ng any he thought of Gloria’s, and every moment
problems to their father, the owner. While in between.
Ander would spend his me nurturing the
twelve horses, brushing their coats, talking He’d been pocke ng every profit made
to them, listening to what their whines from be ng at the races. At least the hors-
meant, Jud couldn’t stand their smell. The es were good for that; lining his pockets
earthiness of the barn, the scent of nature, with co on bills that got him closer to the
the stench of the creatures aggravated his distance he so desperately needed. To-
senses. He didn’t care about their whines day, Jud knew that he’d make the races in
either.
me—and make a few more bills—if luck
His father didn’t make work any easier was on his side.
on him, cri cizing Jud’s efforts as minimal
and Ander’s as excep onal, despite the Gnats swarmed the air, buzzing in and
brothers comple ng the same task. Yet, Jud out of the windows, up to the vaulted ceil-
loved his brother, so he stayed all this me. ing of the wooden building in a dance that
It had been three years since he had first only manure could compel. All the water
thought to leave, three years of the same buckets were empty. The hay the brothers
rou ne, but he had finally had enough. To- stock piled in the back corner had dimin-
morrow, he was leaving, and his brother ished. All the troughs were bare like the
wouldn’t know un l he was gone. bones of picked roadkill a er being licked at
length by the hungry horses’ long tongues.
Jud helped Ander complete their chores
for the morning, though rushing through Luck wasn’t in the stable.
his. He hoped to catch the last few races at
Lane’s End to bet what money he had on Three horses hung their heads out as Jud
the buckskin stallion, Calvary. Calvary ran and Ander entered, the sun already beat-
for Gloria’s Stable, less than a mile down ing down on the top of their hat-covered
heads. Jud watched as Pete, a chestnut stal-
lion, caught sight of Ander and neighed.

13


Adelaide Literary Magazine

“How are you today, buddy?” Ander asked, “Ain’t complaining when it’s true. This is
touching the dark curtain of Pete’s mane, then one thing I’ll never miss.”
bringing his lips to Pete’s temple.
Jud pulled a shovel racked on the wall
Jud shuddered at the thought of ever and walked into Pete’s stall. Ander con-
touching a horse that way. That kind of
touch reminded him of his mother, the only nued pe ng Pete, shining the stallion’s
person he loved as much as his brother. How brown skin with the palm of his hand.
she cradled these creatures’ heads, trus ng
them. When Jud thought of his mother, he “It’s your version of the truth.”
thought of the loud thud her body made
when she fell on that day three years ago. He Ander grabbed the saddle dangling
swore it sounded heavier than he thought a along the stall door.
body his mother’s size could produce. What
he remembered most was the sound of her “I’m gonna take Pete out to graze. I’ll do
neck snapping, cracking beneath the hooves the same with the others so that I can help
of the mare’s hooves. The sound echoed for you shovel the shit, then we can get started
seconds, possibly a whole minute, like a bul- on toilet training.”
let from a gun, even moments later as her
body lay s ll and broken. He remembered Ander slapped Jud’s back, then grasp his
tas ng blood as his teeth broke the so shoulder. Their version of affec on. As kids,
flesh of his cheek, pooling onto his tongue, Jud realized that his brother did this when
the smell of metal taking over his senses. he wanted Jud to calm. It was their brother-
hood at its best; Ander knew exactly when
A deep breath blew out of Pete’s nose, Jud needed to feel a li le less alone.
as if he’d been holding it, wai ng for the re-
lease that only Ander’s aura could induce. Ander placed the saddle on Pete, then
None of the horses sighed when Jud en- the rein around his neck. Ander stopped
tered the room, rather they regarded him beside the stallion, rather than in front of
like the flies that preyed on them, tolerat- him, and guided him out of the stable and
ing him, then forge ng he was there. Ans into the sun. Jud gripped the shovel ght in
Jud was fine with that. both hands while watching his brother go.

“How do these beasts make such a mess? 
We’ll be here all day.”
Jud made it to Lane’s End just a er two.
“If you want,” Ander said, “we can teach The cket booth had long been abandoned,
them how to use the toilet.” allowing Jud to hop over the turns le with-
out paying. He went and placed his bets, al-
Jud stared at his brother’s back un l An- ready knowing the line-up and who would
der turned around. win—trial and error over the years taught
him be er than any book he tried to read
“Hilarious. The night hand could’ve mucked about the art of the gamble—and made his
last night. No way all this shit happened this way to where he liked best to watch. Be-
morning.” neath the stadium stands. He stood among
the li er of soda cans, popcorn bags, cket
“You just gonna complain all morning, stubs, and paper fans. He peered through
brother?” the slants of the silver metal seats and

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Revista Literária Adelaide

around the varying pairs of feet. It would Jud make a he y profit, but then people
be easy to grab a wallet out of a purse, or caught on, and the pull out, the profit, de-
perhaps chance his fingers in a loose pocket creased with every race.
of a large set man for bills. No one thought
to look beneath them here. They were “If only he were out of the picture, no
too mesmerized by the heavy bea ng of one would know who to bet on. The stakes
hooves sprin ng toward the finish line. He would be higher. Our winnings would be…
didn’t like to watch the races, hated himself heavenly.”
when he encouraged their speed, or when
he shouted their names like a fan. Jud sim- “Yeah,” Jud replied. “Doesn’t ma er ei-
ply waited for the announcer’s booming ther way. This is my last one.”
voice to inform him of the winners, of his
winnings, as he peered at the dirt of the “You’ve said this all before. But yet, here
feet of those that he felt would always be you are.” Stan spread his hands wide like a
above him here. presenter on a game show, as if showcasing
the trash around them was a palace.
A tap on his shoulder made him jump. He
turned to find the only person who knew to Stan was handsome with his straight
look for him here among the garbage. Stan nose, grey eyes, sharp jaw, and the bruis-
O’Fallen, a boy that sat behind Jud every es that some mes colored his face that
class since first grade. At first it was due to a racted every type of eye his way. All the
alphabe cal order, but then Stan got into the girls in their grade had fallen for him; the
habit of whispering into Jud’s ear, and Jud got pre y girls, the nerdy girls, the nice ones,
into the habit of listening. It was Stan who even the less-than-nice girls, while they
put the thought in his brain that gambling looked, they never u ered a word his way.
took prac ce, lots of it. Stan had improved Stan was good at keeping the good away. It
over the years of be ng as his family con- was as if he had a finger on the pulse of ev-
erything bad. Even teachers tended to keep
nued to lose with their second-best horses a wide berth around Stan, never brought
of O’Fallen Stables. It was Stan who led Jud a en on to him despite his less-than-av-
to the best places to hide while the world erage grades and his tendency to cause
around them never knew they were there. trouble. Only Jud had been willing to talk to
him all those years ago. He had recognized
Jud hadn’t really thought about how o en a kinship, a shared darkness, a distaste for
he found Stan behind him, wai ng for him. the world around them that Jud kept hid-
den from everyone around him, even his
“Anything good happen?” Stan asked. brother.

“No. Missed the first race. Wai ng for “I’m leavin’ tonight. Got enough to get
the next one.” me out and further north. Out of this racing
town.”
“Good ole Calvary should be next.” Stan
said, drawing out the stallion’s name as if “When you coming back? Is that twin of
savoring the syllables. “What a day it will be yours going too?”
at Lane’s End when Calvary falls.”
“I won’t and he’s not.”
The buckskin stallion had won almost ev-
ery race. He had been the one that helped “It won’t last. These is no way you have
enough to keep you gone. It’ll dry up and

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

then what? You’ll have to trot on back like “What if we made it happen?” Stan asked.
the good ole horses your daddy loves.”
“You can’t be serious.” He said the words
“I won’t.” despite knowing that they were true. “You
want to kill Calvary?”
“Yeah, you will. It’ll be okay, though. Your
daddy s ll kept the horses around even af- “No, I want to help you kill the horse
ter they killed your mommy. I’d bet he’d take that killed your mother. The mare that hap-
you back too.” pens to be at Gloria’s stables.”

It was a reality that made the back of Jud’s Jud felt it then, his en re frame freezing
eyes burn, his fists clench, and his heart stop deep in the marrow from the convic on in
bea ng for a split second. That reality boiled Stan’s words.
in him years earlier when he sat beside his
father and his twin and was forced to listen “Think about it, buddy, if you’re leaving,
as person a er person stood beside the po- what’s stopping you. You’ll be gone before
dium at his mother’s funeral and men oned anyone even finds the thing.”
how much she loved horses. It was his fa-
ther’s reasoning for keeping those creatures “You’re talking about murder.”
on their land a er discovering what they
were capable of. Yet, his father sold the mare “No,” Stan said. “I’m talking about get-
that Jud deemed responsible for his moth- ng even.”
er’s death. Perhaps, his father too couldn’t
bear the thought of cleaning the hooves that 
broke the thin column of Eve Nasery’s neck.
Jud and Ander went into town late that
The sound of the gun shot pierced through a ernoon to buy more grain and hay for
his brain again. the stables. As their father drove, the
brothers sat in the bed of the Ford, le ng
Jud uncleaned his fists. the wind blow their hair, their laughter
muted in the tunnel of wind. The closer
“You know, I had a funny dream last they got to town, the more people they
night,” Stan said, watching Jud’s hands. saw. Men and women hollering and wav-
ing at them. Ander waved back and called
Jud clenched his fists again. This me their names in return, smiling at the peo-
ghter. ple they had known since they were tod-
dlers. Jud loved watching how effortlessly
“We were here, you and me, watching a his brother fit in.
race, when all of a sudden, Calvary erupts
in flames.” Their father pulled into M & J Supplies,
a simple wood shack in need of upkeep.
Jud released his fingers; crescent shapes Its inventory was primarily stored outside
marked the insides of his palms. due to the roof buckling, the wood molding
black like soot. Their father offered to fix
“He ran and ran and ran un l nothing the structure, but the old married couple
was le but ash.” who owned the decaying edifice claimed
they couldn’t afford the repairs, or even the
A chill froze every nerve in Jud’s body. wood needed to fix the falling frame.
He turned to Stan, found him already look-
ing directly at him.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

The twins jumped from the bed and appointment and anger that remained in
went to the back of the store, stopping place with every glance from then on.
when they found the an que cream soda
machine in the shade of the building. They “Don’t you wanna go?”
never asked why the machine was there,
having found the an que one a ernoon He wouldn’t be here, he thought. He’d
horsing around the store. It was one that be long gone, miles away.
required only a quarter for a cool can
to come tumbling out of the aluminum “Yeah, I’ll go. Just surprised he’s le n’
frame. Jud knew his brother had three in us, is all. He’s always been so high and
the front pocket of his worn jeans. He had mighty about what happens there.”
three every me they came. One for Jud.
One for Ander. One for the mu of a dog, “It’ll be fun.”
Mags, that always managed to show up.
Jud would sip from his can as Ander first of- “Yeah, it’ll be fun.”
fered some to Mags, gi ing her a reprieve
from the summer heat, before even buying Si ng across from his brother—breath-
one for himself. ing in the heavy, damp air, listening to An-
der talk about their future, their adven-
The trio huddled in the shade as their ture to college, all the what ifs of life—Jud
father conversed with the couple up front, thought perhaps here was where he was
poin ng to where they could make their supposed to be. But then his brother sporks
founda on stronger. They drank in silence. about the stable and then a horse and then
The sugary soda did nothing to calm his all Jud could see was the blonde strands of
s ll-pounding heart. The silence only allowed his mother’s hair covering her face as she
his thoughts to shout louder in his head. He fell. All he could hear was that bullet sound
set his half-empty drink on the dirt by his feet. over and over and over again. The horses’
hooves hi ng the dirt with heavy struts
“Dad said we could go to Gloria’s for the and then his mother’s neck. Her silenced
races next weekend,” Ander said. cry. His father’s yells.

Jud straightened his spine against the “Do you ever think about leaving?”
building, his shoulders rising. He had always
felt a sharp prick in his gut when Ander talk- “What ar—.”
ed about their father, when he showed how
different his rela onship with their father “Just leave Po er Fields for good.”
was from Jud’s. They had been closer, Jud
and their father. Yet that ended when Jud “And go where?”
screamed for his father as his mother laid
mo onless on the grass of Po er Fields. He “Anywhere. Across the country. Across
was rooted to the spot in which he stood, the world. Everywhere. Would you leave?”
screaming with blood coa ng his tongue.
When his father asked him what happened “No, I can’t imagine myself anywhere
and he revealed that he did nothing, could else. Dad needs us here.”
do nothing to save his mother, a hardness
draped over the man’s eyes. A veil of dis- “Dad could care less about us.”

“No, you just think he doesn’t care, but
he does.”

“I guess that’s your truth. Not mine.”

“Where could you possibly go?”

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

“Somewhere without horses,” Jud said. “You been thinking about what I said?”
He leaned his head against the building Stan asked while sliding into the black
with a thud. “I could live in a world without leather booth.
horses.”
Jud jumped at his voice. He hadn’t heard
Ander stood from his spot and walked him enter the diner, didn’t recall the ding of
over to his brother. He slid down next to Jud the bell above the glass door.
and squeezed his weight shoulder.
“No.”
“You know I miss her too, right?” Ander
asked. “You know what happens to liars.”

“I know.” “I have a reason to hate them, but
what’s yours? Why this revela on on want-
“You know we can talk about it.” ing to help me kill the horse that killed the
mother,” Jud asked.
“I know.”
Stan’s stare was unwavering.
He couldn’t, Jud thought, because when
he did, he was haunted once more. It would “Out of all the people in this town, I
never end. He didn’t tell this to his brother, thought you’d be the one who knew the
his other half. He loved him too much to truth. Don’t pretend that your family doesn’t
break that hope. He couldn’t do that. It was treat those horses be er than they treat
the only good thing in life that he’d ever do. you. Everyone in this town praises them like
they’re some treasure that all will miss, that
****(this is the scene I am having most their limbs and flesh are more important
trouble with)**** than the person standing beside them. Even
the ones with your blood beat you worse
That night Jud found himself at Hadie’s than those animals. They love you less.”
Place with a packed bag at his feet. The
diner just a few miles down from Gloria’s Jud didn’t think that his brother, his
Stable. There wasn’t much in the bag, just mother, or even his father loved him less
enough for a week or two before he would than the twelve horses that were housed
need a washing machine, not enough to in their stables. While his father was harsh,
weigh him down, not enough for Ander to he was never abusive. His mother was kind.
no ce right away. He sneaked it out and Everything she touched grew. Yet, she was
into the truck bed of the navy Ford Bron- s ll taken away from Jud. The horse that
co he and Ander had been slowly restoring she cared for most was the one that tram-
since they got their licenses, before mum- pled over her body like it was nothing but
bling under his breath to his father about a bag of bones. Jud o en wondered what
going into town for something to eat. that must have felt like. Hooves pounding
against every limb. He preferred that, Jud
He glanced at the clock above the en- thought, over the feeling of inferiority to
trance, 9:40. He clutched a cold cup of the horse. Jud would rather be trampled
coffee, stared at the dark liquid framed in than feel alone. One feeling went away
the white ceramic mug. He never drank the sooner than the other. One didn’t linger
coffee, only ordered and held the beverage while the other had the possibility of last-
to prevent the evil eye of the waitress from ing forever.
ligh ng his booth on fire.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Staring at Stan, with his piercing stare, peer inside. He kept hidden behind Cal-
he knew that he was dealing with some- vary’s bulk un l he knew, for certain, that
thing darker than he ever had before. Stan, they were alone. Jud felt Stan’s hands on
Jud thought, was going to do whatever he his legs only seconds before Stan pushed
wanted. He knew what everyone thought him forward into the stall. He landed with a
of Stan. Dangerous. Crazy. Monstrous. Yet, thud on the hard surface like a bale of hay.
no one knew the why. Why would it be so Calvary peered down, unimpressed. Stan
bad if they both finally got what they want- pulled himself over, landing on his feet.
ed. Why would it be so bad if Jud finally
found some peace. “What was that for?” Jud asked.

“I’ll do it,” he said. Stan smiled.

Stan smiled. “I’m—,” Jud paused as he saw fingers
grip the sill they’d just entered through.

His body tensed.
Just half past midnight, Jud parked his truck
on the side of the road close to the cov- A head of blond curls exactly like Jud’s
er of trees as he could. Stan hopped out mothers appeared.
of the passenger side as Jud shut off the
headlights. Stan grabbed his bag and they Ander.
slipped into the forest surrounding Gloria’s
Stable. Only a small light lit the stable like “What are you doing here?” Jud’s eyes
a lamp forgo en in a haste to leave the widened.
house. Each stall contained a window high
enough that one of the bigger colts could “I invited him,” said Stan.
prop their heads out of the sill.
“I came to help,” Ander said as he fell
Jud and Stan hunched close to the into the stall. He stood and wiped his jeans
ground, sprinted across the field, the pressed clean of the hay. “He said you needed help.”
their backs against the stable with a window
about their heads. A horse peered down. “What the hell is wrong with you.” Jud
pushed Stan into the back corner of the
Calvary. stall. “He was never a part of this.”

“Good horsey,” Stan whispered. “Nice “Plans changed. I needed the help and
horsey.” he was willing. I asked him when I went
looking for you.”
The stallion only stared in response.
Jud shoved Stan again, then turned to
Jud stretched his body upwards, expel- his brother.
ling calm shhhh to Calvary with every move-
ment he made. He tried to peer into the “You,” he pointed his finger at his broth-
window, but even on the p of his toes Jud er, “need to leave. Right now.”
couldn’t see into the stable. Jud grabbed
the sill and pulled his body upwards, check- “No.”
ing behind him before turning his head to
“No?”

“No.”

“Well, now that that is se led,” Stan
said, “let’s get started.” He pulled the con-

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

tents out the bag. Lighter fluid. A box of the gates at the start of a race, preparing
matches. A knife. their bodies for the moment of flight. Cal-
vary raised a back leg before snapping the
Ander gaped at the dark-haired young limb quick toward the ground.
man.
It wasn’t concrete that Calvary stomped
“Whoa, what is all that for? What are upon.
you guys even going to do? Kill the horse?”
Jud heard a crack like a bullet.
“That’s exactly what we are going to do,
golden boy.” Calvary bucked.

Calvary neighed. Jud saw his mother’s hair fallen over her
face, mo onless on the ground. But, he re-
Jud couldn’t do this. Not with his broth- alized, it wasn’t his mother’s pe te frame
er here. Not when he knew that Stan had that laid before him this me.
no inten on of stopping. There was no pull-
ing him back. He needed to leave with his “Ander,” Jud’s hands shook as he reached
brother. Now. for his twin’s neck but didn’t dare touch.

Stan poured the lighter fluid over the The fire behind Jud was growing, stretch-
hay sca ered across the concrete floor. ing its way up to the top of the stable.

“Stop!” Jud pushed Stan trying to snatch Calvary pressed against the stall door.
the box of matches out of his hand.
“Help me,” Jud said to Stan. “You have
Stan stumbled back, knocking Ander to help me.”
over and on to the floor.
“Sorry,” his eyes staring at Ander, who
Stan lit a match, the scrape of the wood was mo onless. Jud swore he saw regret in
against the striking surface echoed in the his eyes before Stan pulled himself over the
stable. sill, disappearing from view.

Calvary jumped. The sight of the flame The flames danced toward Jud’s leg,
causing him to neigh, in fear, Jud thought. catching his jeans. He slapped his leg, killing
the flame, but his skin s ll burned.
Jud bent to help his brother to his feet.
They needed to leave. He needed to get them out of here.

The strong muscles of the stallion The ps of Calvary’s mane were lit like a
tensed. His head whipped back and forth. candlewick.

Stan dropped the match into the hay. The stallion rammed against the stall
door, ripping it from its hinges, and raced
Calvary stood on his back legs and re- out of the stable.
leased a powerful whine, a cry for help.
The thought that he knew what the horse Jud grasped his brother beneath his
was saying was not lost on Jud. He could armpits and pulled and pulled and pulled
see every taut tendon in Calvary’s legs as un l he could no longer feel the heat. He
the stallion fell back to all fours, his hooves only stopped when his knees buckled just
clicking onto the concrete. Calvary kicked beneath the cover of the trees.
the concrete like Jud had seen horses do in

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Cradling Ander’s head in his lap, Jud Calvary wasn’t a horse, an object bred for
watched as tears fell into his brother’s hair, racing and winning, but a phoenix flying,
into the crown of hay stuck in his brother’s burning in the black of night.
golden locks.
Jud heard nothing, saw nothing—not
Calvary races across the open fields, the whines of the horses s ll trapped in
onto the running track. His silhoue e a their stalls, not the shouts of stable hands
burning shape. A majes c touch galloping, racing toward the fire, not Stan behind him
blazing a trail from the embers jumping telling to come deeper in the woods, to
from his skin. The stallion’s hooves hit the run, to leave his brother behind. Jud heard
dirt with a loud pulse much like the rhyth- nothing at all as he placed his head against
mic breathing of wings. In this moment, his brother’s chest and roared.

About the Author:
Mary Cartwright is a current MFA candidate at The University of Memphis. She is an editor
at The Pinch Journal in Memphis, Tennessee.

21


COOLNESS

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

They shiver through my classes. Stuffed un- Shingles
comfortably into student desks circa 1894,
icicles form at the end of their noses. The I walk through a snow-covered world to
classroom has a wood stove half the size of Sloane’s for brunch. Snow swirls around
a 1967 VW van and piles of wood four feet me. My favorite waitress, the one with the
high, making it appear that I am lecturing ta oo of herself naked on her arm, waits on
in a region of foothills, but I do not light a me. We talk about her new piercings. I say:
match. You know, you’re the hippest person I know.

I inform them that coolness aids con- She says: That makes me feel awesome,
centra on. In fact, I’ve wri en it at the top and goes to get my coffee. I wonder if she’s
of the blackboard in capital le ers four being sarcas c. Why would she care if a gee-
inches high. The fuckers, they misbehave zer like me thinks she’s hip? I dawdle over
just to get swats from my wooden paddle, my coffee, then head back into the snow.
drilled with holes to be aerodynamic, be- At home, I don’t want to go inside. I get
cause that’s the only way they can warm up my snow shovel from the garage, and start
even slightly. shoveling my walk, even though I know it
will snow the rest of the day. Shoveling, I
Preparing to deliver the punishment, I feel good, and o en stop to look around at
swing my paddle like a cricket s ck, then let the white world. I have a stray thought: I’m
fly. I knew, from an age quite young, that sixty now. I ought to get a Shingles shot. I
I wanted a career in educa on. The life of hear that Shingles is really painful.
the mind!
Michigan has two seasons: Winter and
Me, I have no children. My wife and I— Pothole Repair. (That’s our state joke—ho
we’re not breeders. Why mul ply? Other ho!) The bloodied, militarized world has
than misery loving company. two seasons: Figh ng and Winter. In win-
ter the passes are closed, arm shipments
Misery wears a mul -colored knit hat, immobilized, weapons frozen. Terrorists
the kind favored by rugged Tibetans who hunker down in barracks, fill in crossword
haul a piano, a tuba and a glockenspiel puzzles with blunt golf pencils, and wish
to the top of Everest, on their backs. You Osama bin Ladn were s ll in his compound
see, the wealthy are having a jazz party up watching American porn.
there, featuring dancing elephants.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Overlaps: Winter and Winter. Figh ng A colossal disappointment: your ears
and Pothole Repair. ring with parental echoes, as do mine. My
patriarch said: I can read you like a book,
No ma er what, it will snow, the sun will and all the pages are blank, his finger in the
go away, the bi er wind will blow through air as if he were reci ng from the Talmud.
our coats and our frailty. Roads will freeze,
we’ll slide on black ice into ditches. We’ll Listen: I let mold grow on my organ-
fall and break bones. ic eggs. I invite quadruplet cats to lick my
cheeks with their rough tongues un l the
But we don’t have to repair potholes or chafing mimics my Roseola. I do yoga in the
fight wars. I say: Let’s not do either. Let’s rubble of the necropolis without a mat, all
clunk through potholes. Let’s damage res, this to show you that Perfec on is not pos-
wheels, even axles. sible, and whatever you’re comparing your-
self to is a construct with no reality.
Yoga in Rubble
Religions of perfec on betray us, leave
So I have to ask: the alternate universe, in our lungs scarred as if ravaged by pneumo-
which we’re not colossal disappointments, nia, leave our blood infected. “God” is the
where is it? arch-villain in an archaic mythology. “Jesus”
is all the sex we’ve denied ourselves.
The answer: it rode the Diphtheria Neb-
ula, slid into the Oppenheimer Black Hole On a Greek archipelago, the risen Jesus
and hid there, rested in perfect silence, be- and the goddess Isis have riotous sex, un l
fore disappearing. the feta mountains crumble, and the ouzo
and retsina in their abandoned goblets ignite.

About the Author:

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fi een-hundred of his poems and fic ons ap-
pear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including ADELAIDE MAGAZINE. He has
been nominated for numerous prizes, and. was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre
(Australia) Prize for Fic on. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psy-
chologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edi on. His poetry collec-

on, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, will be published by Pski’s Porch Publica ons in early
2019. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.

23


DOING OKAY

by Abraham Assed

One late Friday a ernoon during tenth window of the gas sta on. “Are you talking
grade, I walked to the 7-Eleven a few blocks about that clerk in there?”
away from my house. I went inside and wan-
dered around the shelves of candy, chips, I nodded.
jerky, and gum, unsure of what I wanted,
and stared at the shelves long enough to “That guy is such an ass. I went in there
prompt the clerk to call out to me. one me to give him cash so my mom
could fill up but I forgot the pump num-
“You need help there?” ber. He threw the money back at me and
said ‘come back when I do my homework.’”
I grabbed some beef jerky and went Kristy put her hands in her pockets, shaking
to the register, placing my selec on and a her head. “What’d he do to you?”
couple of crumpled one dollar bills on the
counter. “Nothing bad, he, um, just wasn’t…” I shook
my head, unsure what to say. Kristy stared at
“Mid-terms must be driving you up the me with her dark blue eyes. She blew a bub-
wall or you’re trying to give me the slip,” he ble of gum and popped it, squishing the gum
said. “You’re a dollar short.” between her teeth audibly as she chewed.
“He wasn’t polite,” I said. Really? That’s what I
Pulling out some change from my pock- came up with? I sound like an idiot.
et, I picked out four quarters and dropped
them in front of the clerk. “Those were last “Right. That clerk is a jerk. I’m surprised
month; we’re ge ng ready for finals now,” he’s s ll working here.” She shrugged. “I
I replied. guess it’s true, they don’t have to like you
just because they serve you.”
He looked at me like I had just said the
stupidest thing he’d ever heard and handed I loosened up a bit. Kristy crossed her
me back my change without saying a word. arms in her long sleeve grey shirt and shi -
ed her eyes toward the gas pumps. The
A er taking my jerky and stuffing it in the silence between us se led. I was shy, but
inside pocket of my jacket, I walked out. “Ass- with most people I could carry on a con-
hole,” I mumbled as the door shut behind me. versa on and even joke around. With girls
though, I stuck my head in the sand.
“Who’s an asshole?”
Before I could think about what to say,
Startled, I spun around to see Kristy Hol- Kristy blurted, “So, Wade.” Using my nick-
ls from history class leaning on the front

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Revista Literária Adelaide

name that had stuck a er my sixth grade “Wade.” She turned to face me. “Do you
teacher mispronounced it as “Ah-wade-dee” want to go to the game?” My face must
instead of “Ah-wad-ee.” The ‘Wade’ part have showed how random that ques on
caught on. “You’re in Arnie’s English class?” was. “I mean if you want to, we could hang
out somewhere else. Or if you can’t, it’s
“Yea,” I replied. cool, I don’t mind.”

“He talks about you some mes.” My eyes widened as I thought it over.
Should I say no? I shouldn’t have been going
“Oh.” to any game with a girl, especially one I only
knew casually from school. I had enough
“Yeah, he says that you’re a really nice reason to decline and go home. But if I said
guy.” no, I’d feel bad about pu ng her down. She
was nothing but nice to me. She deserved a
I didn’t know what to say, so I said the break, didn’t she? It was only a game.
obvious. “Thank you, I mean him, well,
both of you.” I felt like kicking myself. “So, “Sure. I’ll go.”
how has Arnie been?”
She smiled wide. “Great.” She hopped
“Okay. We were supposed to meet up up and down. “Come on, let’s go.”
and go to the game but he bailed on me. He
had to go pick up his Mom on the other side As we got closer to school, the cheers
of town.” She kicked a small rock across the grew louder. The game had already started.
pavement. “It sucks. I was looking forward When we arrived at the parking lot around
to that all week.” the stadium, Kristy led me through a small
opening in the fence. The stadium was
“Can’t you go on your own?” I asked. packed, as it was every season. We went
through the main entrance and headed
“Yea, but it’s not fun to go alone. You know to the bleachers where supporters for our
how it is.” team sat, and found some vacant spots
near the back.
I did know how it was for Kristy. Except
for Arnie, she had no real friends. I didn’t When we took our seats, Kristy nudged
think she had a mean bone in her body, but closer to me, which made me nervous. I
she did have a reputa on that put her at was si ng next to a girl, in public. What if
the bo om of the high school caste system. one of the guys from mosque saw me with
Last year a rumor had spread that she was a girl? They’d tell their parents and word
flir ng with an upper-classman at a party. would get to mine. People would think
Trouble was, the boy was already da ng there was something going on between me
Cady Gretchen—and anyone who crossed and her. Was she trying to gaslight me as
her had hell to pay. Once the rumor had part of some ploy to humiliate me?
spread, Kristy’s name had been coupled
with slut or whore. I was overthinking. Possibly, no one
would care. Why would they? They ignored
A er standing there for what seemed me in the hallways. Besides, with people’s
like hours, I figured this was the part where a en on toward the field, no one would
we would bid farewell. But s ll she stood no ce us. And I didn’t think Kristy would be
there, staring at the gas pumps. Any min- that nefarious.
ute, Kristy would say “okay, see you around”
and go about her way.

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

The first half of the game ended with the Kristy slowly nodded, then looked away.
opposing team having already scored three I tried to focus on the game but my mind
touchdowns and taking out two of our was scrambled. Going with her was a big
team’s players. During half me, a group mistake. I should have known be er. What
of seniors trekked across the bleachers a were people going to think? What if she
few rows down—among them were Cady did want me to get into her pants? Rumors
Gretchen and this semester’s boyfriend, weren’t always untrue.
Amir, my former friend from mosque. Be-
fore high school, Amir was what all the The next play, the opposing team scored
parents from the community adored. He another touchdown. “We really suck this
was smart, polite, and had a third of the year,” Kristy stated.
Qur’an commi ed to memory. He’d always
bragged about becoming a Sheikh and “We do,” I replied. Fans from the visit-
opening his own mosque. But when high ing team erupted in cheers. On our side of
school started, he’d spiked his hair, ditched the stadium, more people got up and le .
his nerdy ou its, rarely went to mosque, I wondered about asking Kristy if we could
and every year was with a different girl. He leave. She couldn’t be enjoying this.
also made a point of picking on the other
Muslims who stuck with their faith, me be- As if she had read my mind, she got up
ing his favorite target. and stepped over the bleacher in front of
us. “Let’s get of here,” she said with defeat
When he looked my way, at first he was in her voice.
surprised—then he smiled. “Hey, waddle
shit,” he shouted his moronic nickname We walked through the school parking
for me. Cady’s laughter rang in my ears as lot. People were ge ng in their cars and
my mind flashed back to that Donald Duck pulling out. As we maneuvered around, a
shirt I used to wear in middle school. Amir car pulled up to us and stopped mere inch-
thought he was brilliant when he tagged es from impact. The driver leaned on the
“shit” to the back of “waddle.” horn and stuck her head out the window.
“Move it, bitch,” Cady Gretchen taunted.
“Piss off, Amir,” I yelled back. “What, you on your back so much, you’re
having a hard me walking?” Cady teased
He gestured toward Kristy. “Sloppy sec- as her passengers laughed.
onds, eh? You must be really desperate,
Waddle shit.” They laughed. Kristy blushed as she ducked between
two parked cars and disappeared.
“There’s nothing going on between us.”
My neck s ffened as I gri ed my teeth “Move it waddle shit,” Cady turned her
a ack to me. “She doesn’t like to wait you
“Sure, it always starts off that way,” Cady know.” Cady laughed then ducked her head
said and then looked at Kristy. “Am I right, back into the car, rolling up the window.
Kristy?” They laughed harder and walked She gunned the engine and nearly side-
on. swiped me, her and the other girls in the
car laughing hysterically. Unthinkingly, I
I glared at them un l I no ced Kristy was spat at the driver’s window. Cady starred in
looking at me. I sighed. “Don’t worry about disgust as my drool rolled down the glass. I
him, he’s an asshole.” flipped her off and walked behind her car.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

I met up with Kristy at a side entrance, ran through my mind. Not one of them any
and we walked up the sidewalk away from good for me to say. I hated myself for think-
the stadium. Kristy brushed her fingers ing of her the way I had back at the game.
through her hair and stared up at the black I knew what they said about her was not
sky as we waited for the walk signal to flash true. She’d come to me because there was
at the intersec on. no one else to go to.

Instead of walking back toward the gas I took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” I said.
sta on, she turned in the opposite direc on. She remained silent, no longer sniffling. “I
She was walking so fast, a whole block sepa- know what they say is bullshit. I should have
rated us. “Where are we going?” I shouted. bashed that douchebag’s face into the stadi-
um.” I slammed my heel into the tree trunk.
She kept walking. She looked up, the wind blowing strands of
her hair ascross her face. “Kristy, you’re… a
“Wait up.” I had to run to catch up to her. nice person. That’s all that ma ers.”
When I reached her, in a firm voice I said,
“Stop.” A car pulled into the lot. We came out
from behind the tree. It drove toward us,
She paused and stood there mo onless. the headlights blinding. The car pulled over
to the side and Amir got out. Kristy held
“What the hell are you-” I stopped ques- onto my arm as Amir marched toward us.
oning her as I heard her sniffle.
“Waddle shit,” he said, less than a foot
She crossed her arms and ran off the away.
sidewalk and over a knoll of dead grass, to
the empty lot where an old grocery store “What do you want, Amir?”
used to stand before it was demolished. I
climbed over the knoll and found her stand- “You spat on Cady.”
ing by the tree in the middle of the parking
lot. “Hey, Kristy, are, are you okay?” “I spat on her window. Plus, she almost
ran us over.”
She turned around, tears streaking her
face. “No.” She pulled her hand into her “You don’t fuck with my chick.” Amir
sleeve and wiped her nose. I couldn’t find closed the gap between us.
the words to say, so I looked away. The roar
of the stadium and sounds of traffic on the “She’ll have another guy in her pants
street echoed around us, and I shivered as next week anyway. Why does it ma er?”
a breeze made its way up my jacket sleeves.
My eyes shi ed to the pitch black sky, not a Amir glared at me like I was the thing he
star to be found. hated the most. I glared back. We locked
eyes for what felt like an eternity, un l he
Kristy walked around the tree, out of finally took a step back. For a moment, I felt
sight. I forced myself to follow and found relief—un l Amir struck me in my stomach.
her si ng by the bo om of the trunk, her I fell to the ground, gasping for air.
knees up to her face and her arms around
her legs. “Go away, Wade.” “I’ve wanted to do this for a long me.”
He kicked me on my side. My body rumbled.
I put my hands in my jacket pockets and
leaned against the tree. A million words Kristy ran up on Amir, trying to stop his
assault. She pounded with her fists on his

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

back. “Stop it! Stop it!” I heard her cry. “Get a cinder block wall where the dumpster for
away from him!” Her countera ack was a the grocery store used to be placed. The
mere annoyance to him, and he grabbed sirens thundered through my ears, making
her wrist to force her back. my head throb.

As I struggled to one knee, Kristy We waited long a er the sirens ceased
punched Amir in his mouth, spli ng his before Kristy felt it was safe to leave. She
lip. He brought his fingers to his lips and helped me to my feet and put my arm
wiped off a smear of blood. Glaring at his around her shoulder for support as I could
red stained hands, he balled a bloody a fist barely put any weight on my le leg without
and grabbed Kristy’s hair. sending a tsunami of pain throughout my
body. I could barely see out of my le eye,
She yelped as he yanked, reaching up to but it was so dark in the alley it would have
try to pry his hand off her. not made much of a difference if I could.
My head was swininging back and forth like
“You fucking slut,” he spat out. With a metronome. Kristy led me through the al-
his other hand, he slapped her face. The ley into a neighborhood to avoid the street,
sound of his palm against her cheek echoed ducking for cover when we saw lights of on-
throughout the lot. coming vehicles in the distance.

At that moment I forgot my pain. I was The whole me, we kept silent. I was too
on both feet, charging up to Amir. As he drained to say anything. Kristy hadn’t spo-
turned to face me, I plunged my knuckles ken except to ask how my leg was and to tell
into the side of his face. He staggered then me how close we were to the gas sta on.
regained balance and dove into me. I el-
bowed him in the back of his neck, breaking When we reached the 7-Eleven, she led
his momentum as he fell to one knee. I was me around to the back, next to the manu-
about to kick him when he recovered and al carwash. She didn’t look at me or even
slammed his fist into my eye. He punched speak as she lowered me to the curb. She
me in the chest and slammed me to the simply sat down next to me, leaning against
ground, aiming a vicious kick at my side me.
which I blocked with my le shin. A surge
of pain coursed through my body as the p I closed my injured eye against the pain-
of his shoe connected with my shin bone. ful light. I tried to feel it for swelling but
the moment the p of my finger touched
Before he could land another hit, sirens my eyelid, the burn was so intense I sat up-
wailed in the distance. I saw the flashing red right, startling Kristy.
and blue lights reflec ng in the windows of
the two-story office building next to the lot. “Oh, oh my God, oh shit,” she said. “Your
eye.” She leaned forward. “I didn’t see your
“Shit,” Amir swore. He ran back to his eye.” She inspected my face. “Oh, Wade. I’m
car. His res screeched against the crum- going to get some ice. Don’t touch it.” She
bling pavement as he spun around out of got up and disappeared around the building.
the abandoned lot.
A er a few minutes, Kristy came back
Kristy ran up to me and helped me get with a small ziplock bag with some ice in it.
on my feet. We stumbled to an open alley I leaned forward and held out my hand to
behind the office complex and hid behind

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Revista Literária Adelaide

take the ice, but she placed it directly on my Kristy got on her knees, keeping the ice
eye. The cold plas c against the swollen lid on the bruise. Some of the condensa on
canceled any pain as I leaned back. Kristy dripped from the plas c onto her jeans.
pa ed me on my hand. I could barely feel
her fingers against my bruised knuckles. I looked up and studied her face. Her
I wanted to ask her not to touch me but I mascara was tear-streaked and her cheek
couldn’t get the words out. was an angry blush of red from Amir’s heavy
slap. She needed ice for the bruise. Kristy
“Wish we had something to eat. I’m out no ced I was watching her, and li ed the
of cash,” she said as she moved her hand bag of ice over my eye. “What?” she asked.
away from mine and rubbed her stomach.
“I haven’t had anything since lunch.” “Are you all right?” I couldn’t help but
smile.
“Here,” I reached into my jacket pocket
and pulled out the beef jerky, unopened, “Oh.” She placed the ice in my hand. I put
and handed it to her. it back on my swollen eye, wincing against
the pressure. Kristy sat back with her knees
“Oh cool thanks,” she said, holding ght- up to her chest, facing me. She picked at
ly to the jerky. I winced as she moved the the wrapper of the beef jerky. “Yeah.” She
bag of ice over my eye. “Oh shoot, hang on.” smiled. “I’m… doing okay.”

29


BUTTON TIN

by Aholaah Arzah

Although she had not in years sewn even so older woman had lost an apprecia on for
much as a loose bu on back on the strain- cause and effect and if una ended would
ing lapel of a winter coat, it was not incon- set thick and glistening bacon strips in a
ceivable that she might yet have occasion to cast iron skillet and flip the li le burner
do so. And as it really required so very li le knob to high before wandering away with
energy or skill to accomplish this small task, her sloshing cup of coffee to sit and gaze
it seemed prudent that she keep the thread out the windows of her third-floor condo
and needles handy in the drawer of the old at the bay. It was the young woman’s job
end table beside her favorite chair. This con- to follow along, lowering the temperature
venient loca on and a tendency to somewhat and tending the sizzling strips to a crisp
obsessive forethought had created an accu- golden hue, which she did with an appre-
mula on of other items in the drawer; twee- cia ve a en on, acquiring a strip or two
zers and dental floss, pens and nail polish, a for herself. She then coaxed the old woman
fork, a spoon, paper clips and co on balls. to the small table on the lanai, where with
The contents of the drawer were representa- her coffee replenished and the breeze from
the bay disloca ng the thin silver threads
ve of a larger archiving of sorts. The closet of her hair, the old woman would begin
of her small studio apartment was lined with the serial narra on of her life. The stories
large plas c u lity bins. Somewhere within were always the same, told in the same
those bins were more spools of thread and order, almost word for word as far as the
packets of needles and small containers of caregiver could discern and although the
bu ons, held in further reserve. Des ned to younger woman should have been able to
soon join them was a n of bu ons she in- recite them herself, she had heard them so
tended to scavenge from the most recent of o en, she had soon stopped listening when
her clients, an older woman who required a she realized the recita ons did not require
caregiver because if le to her own devices her par cipa on or even her a en on. This
she might set the kitchen on fire.
me could be used to dri among the frag-
The new client was so ingrained in all mented passing thoughts of her own life.
her behaviors and ac ons that each day
she repeated them in almost exactly the Some mes, while the old woman talked,
same order. Although she didn’t care at all the young woman would sort through the
for the inevitable outcome; an ever-present kitchen cupboards, marveling at thirty-year-
caregiver such as the young woman, the old ns of dry mustard and an que boxes

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Revista Literária Adelaide

of baking soda before dropping them with ga ng by the tapping and swinging of her
an oddly sa sfying thunk into the garbage cane, apparently collec ng replenishments
can. She found that she derived a dis nct for items which were actually quite well-
pleasure from si ing through the detritus stocked in the condo. The younger woman
of someone else’s life and elimina ng the never saw her. The daughter was already
unnecessary details. There was a sense of gone before she arrived in the morning and
sa sfac on derived from the clean shelves presumably returned home a er the care-
and the dy containers. Also, there were giver had le for the day. She had also been
among the faded herbs and spices the oc- warned that the daughter had a drinking
casional treasures; interes ng old bo les, a problem but it appeared to her that it was
actually the older woman who enjoyed the
ny crystal salt shaker with a blackened sil- more than occasional drink as there were
ver cap, small forgo en items, abandoned liquor bo les placed in odd loca ons about
to the dust of dead insects and powdery the condo, whisky on the bookshelf and
residue of spices, easily slipped into a pock- vodka behind a chair in the living room, am-
et and carried away without much thought, are o on the lanai and spiced rum next to
almost as a reflex. Once the essen al kitch- a fern on top of the entertainment console,
en clean-up was completed, the dishes all all readily visible to anyone walking into
washed and put away, all the surfaces clean the room but located where the daughter
and s ll, she resituated the older woman in in her typical movements throughout their
the living room where she would sit gazing home might be unlikely to encounter them.
out at the water, idly fingering her le ear as
though puzzled by a missing earring. One of the less pleasant of the daily rou-
nes was the obligatory trip down the hall
The bathroom was an enclave of par- to the daughter’s bedroom. The old wom-
ally full bo les in such abundance and an would push open the door and wave her
varying levels of emp ness that the young elegantly thin and vein laced hands about
woman imagined if lined up along the edge insis ng that the dreadful mess and clut-
of the sink, one could with sharp raps from ter be cleaned and organized. The young
the hard-plas c head of a toothbrush cre- woman would run the feather duster over
ate a viscous melody from shampoos and the surfaces of piles of Braille books and
mouthwashes. From me to me in those audio casse es and insinuate its feathery
imagined melodies a refrain of melancholy ps between the collec on of items on the
troubled her in its repe ous insistence. daughter’s dresser; brushes and hair clips,
She found some relief in selec ng a few of colognes and face creams, while gently
the bo les with the lowest levels to accom- explaining yet again that the daughter de-
pany the crusty remains of the spice ns in pended on things being exactly where she
the trash can. But it was only a temporary had le them, that the young woman really
easing, new toiletries arrived almost daily. could not move them about or they would
be lost to her. The old lady would shrilly in-
The older woman lived with her adult sist and the young woman would reluctant-
daughter, who although blind and no spring ly agree, escor ng her back to her chair and
chicken herself, the caregiver had been told, very likely a surrep ous nip from one of the
s ll worked a tradi onal 9 to 5 and trav- bo les, while the young woman lingered in
eled about in the world via taxis and buses, the bedroom smoothing the already well-
into drugstores and grocery markets navi-

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

made bed and lining up the corners of the back to her chair. The young woman then
stacks of casse es without actually relocat- slipped into the older woman’s room and
ing anything, everything always precisely in slid the dresser drawer open. It seemed
the same loca on. Later when she rejoined doub ul that the older woman would miss
the older woman she would be directed to a chocolate or two from the n assum-
follow her down the hall to her own bed- ing there were at least a handful or more
room where she would wait while the older le inside. When she li ed the n from
woman pulled open the top drawer of her the drawer she heard the musical sluic-
dresser and sorted through a collec on of ing of many small disks. She was instantly
crisp floral handkerchiefs. A er some con- enthralled. She couldn’t have explained
sidera on, she would make a selec on and the strange fascina on bu ons held for
press it upon the young woman as a peace her, what coin they represented. She had
offering which the young woman accepted her own collec ons at her apartment and
graciously and then slid back into the draw- loved to si through the bu ons from me
er later. The young woman preferred the to me. Some of the bu ons had their own
one with purple pansies on a pale green li le tales a ached to them although none
background and as if intui ng this the older of the tales were actually factual. She had
woman chose it again and again. forgo en the origin of most of the bu ons
but the retelling of their imagined stories
It was on one of these occasions that to herself again and again as she sorted
the young woman no ced the chocolate through them had created a validity, a cer-
tain kind of history. One of her favorite con-
n in the rear of the drawer. She had once, structed memories involved the small yel-
as a child, been given an en re n of the low duck bu ons from a sweater kni ed for
very same chocolates by a friend of her her by her grandmother. This would be the
mother’s, a woman whose spare rooms grandmother who kept her hands occupied
they were occupying during another of with her cigare es un l she was eighty and
their transi onal periods. The young wom- never kni ed anything more than her brow
an had never in her life since felt as rich as over the ac vi es of the neighbors she
she had when she ran her fingers through spied on. The young woman began sor ng
the depth of bright foil-wrapped candies. through the old woman’s bu on n each
Her mother’s friend ran a hair salon out day purloining an unusual few to add to her
of the front of her house. Evenings a er it collec on. They would not be missed and
closed the girl the young woman had been very likely dispatched en masse one day
then, cleaned the surfaces of the mirrors to the dona on box of a thri store ben-
and wavy glass par ons for the pleasure efi ng the otherwise unemployable. One
of inhabi ng the empty salon, the plants all day she kept the pansy handkerchief. Then
watered, the magazines ordered. She also it began to seem a waste to be deposi ng
rou nely pried loose a few of the quarters so many par al bo les of this and that into
and occasionally a dollar bill from a heavy the trash when on her meager wages, she
square metal bank into which her mother’s could scarcely afford to pay rent so she slid
friend stuffed her daily ps. them one or two at a me into her bag. A
bar of soap and a roll of toilet paper, a s ck
The next me the young woman was of bu er, a canned ham.
ordered to clean the daughter’s room she
simply agreed and escorted the old woman

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Revista Literária Adelaide

The bu on n con nued to yield un- those perfectly groomed people striding by
expected treasures; two carved ivory but- in their impeccable clothes and those peo-
tons, three very tarnished silver thimbles ple standing in the steam of hea ng grates
and a heavy length of greenish-bronze col- in dirty layers of stale clothing with their
ored chain that the young woman suspect- palms outstretched. Occasionally in her
ed might be gold. The young woman was comings and goings, the young woman met
amazed at such casual disregard for things one of the neighbors in the elevator or the
of value. In her own spare life, growing up, parking garage. Ini ally, they behaved as
everything had always been counted and though she were invisible. Gradually, how-
considered for poten al resale in mes of ever, they began to slide their eyes over her
crisis. She grew up in rentals, furnished with and dart a quick grimace in her direc on
trash and wore the same ill-fi ng clothes and then a er some me to nod or smile
un l they disintegrated. She lived now, and eventually to greet her as if she had
as an adult, in a construc on of objects always been there. And she had become
deemed worthless; whatever could be scav- accustomed to being there. There were
enged curbside or retrieved from dump- moments during the day when she stood
sters, the indifferent largesse of people she gazing out at the water, holding an an que
would never know. She had fashioned a sort teacup in her warm palms, when the rou-
of philosophy concerning cast-offs, the vir-
tue of using and re-using the items that al- nes of the older woman’s life seemed the
ready existed in the world, of skimming the only construct of her life. She had trouble
slightly tainted cream from the abandoned while watering the po ed plants on the la-
excesses of others. Now the philosophy nai remembering the previous evening in
seemed to have evolved to embrace nudg- her own apartment as though that aspect
ing a few unappreciated items loose from of her existence was a dissipa ng dream.
their tenuous ownership. The old woman
and her almost mythical daughter had more A distant rela ve of the older wom-
than they needed. The old woman dri ed an arrived unexpectedly for a visit and sat
through the ghosts of previous days and the for a while on the lanai with her while she
daughter through a world of grays and shi s narrated her early childhood on a farm in
of fog. The young woman provided what Nebraska. The visitor sat smoking cigare e
they needed, a kind of direc on and simpli- a er cigare e watching the curls of smoke
fica on. Although hardly an exchange that appear to superimpose themselves over
would be recognized, much less appreciat- the wind li ed white caps on the water.
ed by most of the audience, it almost always When the caregiver joined them and drew
felt to the young woman, if she happened from her pocket a red leather cigare e case
to consider it, like a fair enough exchange. studded with gold balls the visitor’s eyes
snagged a moment on it and the faintest of
The young woman began to bring a large frowns ceased the area between her eyes
backpack with her to facilitate the transfer and then with the slightest of shrugs she
of the gleaned household excesses and re- turned back to the water as though what-
dundancies from their elevated perch in ever she had thought was a er all nothing
the condo. Incognito the items traveled the of consequence.
number seven bus route through the dingy
noisy heart of the city where they passed One morning when she arrived the care-
giver found a note, presumably from the

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

daughter, detailing instruc ons for u lizing bucket which she would fill precisely at 5
the debit card enclosed in the envelope for pm each evening and empty at nine when
household needs. The daughter was head- the older woman went to bed. They com-
ed out of town on some sort of extended panionably watched the sunset over the
business trip and expected the caregiver to water to the ethereal music of ice nkling in
live in during her absence. The note was not a good crystal. She developed an extraordi-
very detailed and the handwri ng difficult nary pa ence in regard to the evening per-
to read. A er a momentary flare of alarm sonal care and toile ng of the older woman
mixed with indigna on, the caregiver found wondering how the daughter had managed.
that the idea was not that unappealing. The pa ence evolved into something akin to
affec on and in response the older woman
Removed from the last ves ges of her life would lay her frail hand on the caregiver’s
apart, the caretaker se led into the condo. arm and then her chin, some mes l ng the
Now she traveled about in buses and taxis younger woman face towards hers and gaz-
to purchase groceries and household items, ing with an uncommon focus into her eyes
judiciously determining the need for replen- before gently pa ng her cheek.
ishment. She began to work on a few proj-
ects in the condo, brightening the rooms From me to me the caregiver would
with fresh flowers and new vibrant throw pause and remember that she had another
pillows and rugs. She purchased a small life out there but that space and its furnish-
an que trolley at the flea market for what ings seemed so remote and warehoused as
she believed was a reasonable price and ar- though her en re shabby apartment and
ranged all the liquor bo les on it complete shabby former life were stored in a huge
with some lovely old glassware and an ice plas c container put aside for con ngency.

About the Author:

Aholaah Arzah received her MFA in Crea ve Wri ng from Goddard. Her poems, essays,
short fic ons, and visuals have appeared in a variety of publica ons including; Quarter Af-
ter Eight, Crab Creek Review, elimae, Paper Tape, The Bellingham Review, Literary Orphans,
Moon City Review, Typishly, and ARC. Her essay “Ring Cycle” received Longshot Magazine’s
feature award. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

34


JULIA IN BLOOM

by Alberto Ambard

The scratchy, metallic sound of the brakes him there was a struggling gas sta on with
woke Daniel, but he kept his eyes closed, two pumps, although only one remained
un l he heard the bus driver announcing func onal. The other resembled one of
the last res ng stop. those in old postcard photos. In front of
it were old res spread randomly on the
Las Vegas was Daniel’s final des na on. ground and a carpet of rusted Coca Cola
One last city, one last gig in a grimy, smoky and Budweiser cans reflec ng the sunlight,
bar. At forty-one, his high hopes of stardom like shards of a broken mirror sca ered on
had been replaced by a resen ul content- a beach.
ment. His rou ne was to play whatever the
audience wanted, the usual lame hits he’d A large tumbleweed caught his eye, and
always hated or those he’d learned to loathe following it, he saw it rolling toward an old
through painful repe on, night a er night. Chevy truck, as old as the gas pumps. Be-
hind the truck was a small shack named
He walked toward the front of the Bagdad Café selling pancakes and coffee.
bus, slowly. Before stepping down, he ex- Next to this small establishment, another
changed glances with the driver and then shack with a sign on the roof that said “M
turned to check on the only other passen- sic Store” in shining red lights caught his at-
ger, a very old and wrinkled woman with a ten on.
wide nose, long white hair, and very small
eyes, who seemed—in contrast to his own Daniel loved music. He was a racted to
disposi on—immutably tranquil and ap- this establishment just as some women are
peased with whatever life had given her. a racted to a nice shoe store, except this
par cular shop didn’t look promising.
A warm, dry breeze welcomed Daniel
as he stepped out into the bright light that “Good a ernoon,” he said, entering
reminded him of a world outside the dark the store. He breathed in the fragrance of
cabin of the bus. He cracked his back with the old wood floors and walls and became
a stretch, closed his eyes and inhaled the pleasantly surprised to discover the store
fresh air deeply un l the driver interrupted sold nothing but vinyl records.
his moment of joy, saying,
Behind the counter were two other rea-
“We’ll leave in twenty minutes.” sons for him to like the store: a sign that
said “Collec bles Only,” and a girl of rare
Opening his eyes, he discovered a world beauty who seemed busy coun ng some
discolored by dust and neglect. Closest to

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

bills. He might not have no ced her big She navigated toward a corner of the
eyes if it weren’t for a brief glimpse she of- store through the narrow labyrinth of cus-
fered him before returning to her task. tom cabinets holding vinyl records. He fol-
lowed her, but looking from side to side,
He flipped through a couple of albums searching for more gems. He spo ed Mc-
in front of him, un l a collec ble 78rpm sin- Laughlin, Di Meola & De Lucia’s Friday Night
gle of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Corinna Blues in San Francisco, walking past it with a mu-
caught his a en on. Excited, he li ed the sic snob’s certain arrogance. I was there
record to examine it further, only to find that night, he thought proudly. And I have
the first edi on of Edith Piaf’s debut record it at home.
right behind it.
They arrived at a wall library with mul-
“Piaf and Blind Lemon in the same pile?” ple boxes, records, and a few books. She
he said out loud. stood in front of the shelves, as if trying to
remember where she’d le something. This
“Wild, isn’t it?” she said from the count- was the first me he’d had a chance to get
er. “We keep everything quite disorganized a proper look at her. What a beau ful girl,
to encourage customers to wander around. he thought.
Are you looking for anything in par cular?”
A brilliant ray of light coming from the
“Not really, but your strategy is very ef- open door was shining through her white,
fec ve,” he said. “I was in a hurry to get to linen dress, decorated with a pa ern of
the city, but now I hope my bus needs new flower buds.
brakes or something, because this store is
amazing.” The sun radia ng through the fabric
of her dress illuminated the curves of her
Leafing through the bins, suddenly, Dan- body like an X-ray. Even a er she moved
iel seized an album—an LP bootleg of Traf- aside, s ll searching for whatever she was
fic playing at the Boston Music Hall in 1971. looking for, he persisted in his examina on.
It was as though he’d just discovered the She definitely no ced.
treasure of El Dorado.
“Yes! Here it is!” she announced with an
“May I ask what accent you have, Sir? invi ng smile, but confronted with his pen-
Italian?” she asked. etra ng look, she blushed and immediate-
ly pulled the bait back, then changing her
He admired the beau ful shape of her tone, asked,
light eyes, unsure if they were green or
blue, then stu ered his response: “Are you familiar with Agustín Barrios?”

“No, no… I am South American.” “The Great Paraguayan? Of course, who
isn’t?”
He paused, as if expec ng another ques-
on, and then added, “Well, in this country nobody knows of
him, you know, but my father says he s ll
“I play the guitar.” is the best composer for the guitar to ever
exist, even be er than Robert Johnson.”
“Oh! Then please, follow me. This will in-
terest you, I think.” Her smile opened. The “I assume your father owns the store,
fact he was a guitarist immediately changed no? Where is he?”
her a tude; he would no longer be “Sir.”

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Revista Literária Adelaide

“He’s not here. He works at the casino “Julia,” she answered, blinking slowly
just outside the city, about two hours from and gracefully, showcasing her long eye-
here. He’s trusted me with the store for a lashes. He moved closer to her and to meet
year now.” She said and kneeled to locate a her invi ng eyes.
box on the lower shelves of the library.
They stared at each other momentar-
Daniel no ced the melancholy in her ily, separated by the box she was holding
tone and wonder for a moment what had between them, un l she stepped back and
happened. Her stumbling, drunk father said,
wasn’t able to manage the store or his
own life. He had le her in charge, with not “Precisely, what I have here will interest
much else than lots of me to mull over her you very much. This is an unpublished re-
frequent thought of running away from a cording of Barrios’s Julia Florida, played by
torturing town that breathed nothing but Barrios himself.”
dust, solitude, and the memories of her
dead mother. The one thing keeping her in She opened the box and withdrew the
the store was her love for its music. old 78rpm record, adding,

“Did you know they called Barrios ‘the “Let me play it for you. But I must warn
Devil of the Guitar’?” he said. you: this one isn’t cheap.”

“Did he sell his soul to the devil too, like While she went to change the music, he
Robert Johnson?” she replied. peeked inside the box and no ced an old
photo of Barrios stepping off a train with a
Surprised the girl had heard the myth young girl. He looked at it briefly and at that
about Johnson, Daniel said reflec vely, moment, his arousal intensified, for he had
no ced the music playing. Oh God, Glenn
“Well, I think I would sell my soul to the Gould’s 1956 recording of Bach’s Goldberg
devil too, you know? I mean, if I could play Varia ons. It sounds so pure on vinyl. Who
as well as Barrios. Hell, I would sell my soul is this girl?
to spend a few more hours with you listen-
ing to all these wonderful records. I haven’t He watched her replacing Gould’s re-
met a woman who knows a quarter of what cord with Barrios’s with such pa ence and
you clearly know about music,” he said. care that it was obvious she knew too well
the value of the record. As soon as she rest-
She laughed and stood up with the box. ed the needle on the record, the slow intro-
duc on of Julia Florida filled the room.
“Well,” she said coque shly, “These re-
cords are keeping us trapped in this stupid They remained listening for a moment,
desert, aren’t they? It’s just you and me.” aware of a strange, drama c change in the
atmosphere of the place, star ng with the
He struggled for a second to determine sudden arrival of a rose fragrance. Briefly
whether her tone was insinua ng; her smile doub ul, they remained separated by the
and the slight lt of her head confirmed his length of the store, un l finally, Julia came
suspicion. Shit, how old is this girl? Twenty? back toward him.
He thought, absorbed by the beauty of her
eyes. Mysteriously, her complexion started
darkening and her hair grew thick and wavy. A
“What’s your name?” he finally asked. small, dark mole adorned the side of her now

There was a brief silence…

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

thinner nose; she had transformed into the Agus n Barrios, just as he looked in the old
young girl he recognized from the old photo. photo—and he was about to kiss her.

Daniel would have wondered at the The music’s next and more powerful
change, but she stopped once again near the verse started. Smelling the fragrance of
door where the sunlight filtered through the cheap apple shampoo on her hair, he slid
fabric of her dress. Her whole silhoue e was his hands up from her hips and abdomen,
there for him to admire and he made no effort nearly reaching her ribs. At this moment,
to conceal his desire. Not even her sudden they both felt an electrical shock that had
blushing persuaded his eyes for looking at her. started down in their belly and risen as a
swirl of sensa ons all the way to their lips.
In midated and excited at the same me, A er some hesita on, swept up again in the
she mumbled something about the volume current, they let any doubts dissolve. Over-
needing adjustment and turned to walk to- whelmed, they succumbed to internal sen-
ward the record player. He rushed to stop her, sa ons they had never experienced before.
just barely holding her from behind, by the
hips, before she could escape the sun’s rays. Desire, guilt, excitement, and terror all
ba led inside them, un l his lips touched
The moment he touched her, bright hers. The electrical shock came back
color filled the scene. The peculiar greyish though the same path and the red petals
tones were replaced with vivid greens and on her dress unfurled, flying out and filling
blues and yellows and the red buds on her the room with a peculiar fragrance she had
dress were now fiery red. never experienced before. Now, just as the
piece ended, she was Julia in Bloom.
“Please don’t…don’t move,” he paused…
“What a perfect piece of music.” When the piece ended, the needle stuck
in a groove at the end of the last track, mak-
Understanding the double meaning of ing a scratchy sound with every revolu on.
his words and seduced by the beauty of the Leaving Agus n where he stood, Julia rushed
music, she turned her head to reciprocate to li it off the record. Agus n, resembling
and closed her eyes, ready to release her Daniel once more, ambled a er her. All the
full sensuality. bright color drained from the scene. At the
front of the shop, separated by the count-
He too began transforming, although, er, Daniel and Julia recovered their compo-
eyes closed and aroused by his touch, she sure and their physical appearance, facing
didn’t no ce. His loose hair was now gleam- each other and blushing. Their dreams had
ing and combed to the side, while his blue dissolved into dust that flew out the door,
jeans and t-shirt had been replaced with a carried away by the warm air of the desert.
formal black suit, a white shirt, and a cravat.
“I’ll take it,” he said. “I don’t care what it
Swaying together, they felt each other’s costs. I’ll sell a couple of guitars if I have to.”
warmth, his arms wrapped around her. As
Daniel brushed her ear with his lips, Julia felt She nodded and returned the record
the ckle of a mustache that hadn’t been to the box. She packed it away slowly and
there before. She turned her head halfway with ceremony. They remained silent. The
and opened her eyes to realize with an ee- sounds of the sad wind blowing in the des-
rie thrill that now, Daniel had transformed. ert and the empty cans rolling outside over-
The familiar face before her now was that of took the beau ful music of Barrios.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

“Would you like to take anything else?” the other’s dream, they wondered with
some regret what might have happened if
“Yes,” he said, willing to end the awk- they’d actually made a move.
ward moment, then hurried to grab a few
more records—nine in total. He looked up at the sign on the roof
and at the old windows with mosquito
A en vely, she placed them in a large nets surrounded by fading pale walls, beg-
paper bag, as if they were unprotected Car- ging for a fresh coat of paint, then no ced
avaggios. They commented casually on each a peculiarity he had missed earlier: The
of the records un l the last one was packed. building was in fact a train wagon convert-
He paid and got out of the store without ed into a store.
saying anything else, but a er walking ten
or twenty steps toward the bus, he stopped Looking a li le wis ul, Julia waved
and turned around. goodbye. Daniel waved a reluctant farewell
in response, and each turned back to the
She stood on the store’s front porch with everyday world—Julia behind her counter,
her feet together, one hand holding the oth- bi ng into her usual tuna sandwich, and
er over her waist. The wind died down into a Daniel se ling back into his seat on the bus,
lighter breeze, making the hem of her dress looking out the window, wishing for at least
dance a li le, but the flower buds remained one red petal to liven the grey landscape.
closed. Behind her, the store was silent.
Now and then, even today, the beau -
They faced each other, faithful to the ful sound of Julia Florida dri s back to their
monotony that had ruled them for as long ears, reminding them of their dreams.
as they could remember. Each unaware of

About the Author:

Alberto Ambard (Venezuela, 1970) divides his me between wri ng and prac cing maxillofa-
cial prosthodon cs. He co-authored High Treason, a novel about the emo onal effect caused
to Venezuelans by the poli cal and social changes the country experienced in the past twenty
years. His short story Luca & The Chameleon is accepted for publica on at the Pennsylvania
Literary Journal. His second novel is about to be published by a small publishing house.

39


THE MAN ON THE
EDGE OF THE TOWN

by Jamie Gogocha

Crossing from the green, mountainous west- As my Camaro’s turn signal ck-tocked
ern half of Montana into the endless hori- just under Halestorm’s music coming through
zon of the eastern half is like crossing into the speakers, I passed a faded blue and yel-
another country. As I drove along the empty low sign welcoming me to the li le town
two lane highway, I took the opportunity with a popula on of 646 and was “home of
to appreciate my surroundings as I passed the mighty Lions.” It brought back memories
by. I loved being embraced by the blue that of the sign above the entrance to my high
gave Montana the nickname Big Sky Coun- school gym saying “You’re in Warden Coun-
try. Watching the trees become fewer was try!” Not far past the weather-loved sign, I
always something I had appreciated in the saw an establishment called Queen’s Café.
past. It made me feel like I was running a
race and pulling ahead of the crowd. “Any place,” I figured, “called Queen’s
Café around here must at least have a mean
Around 2:30 in the a ernoon, my stom- BLT or a pasty.” Nostalgia brought a smile to
ach rumbled, and I realized that I hadn’t my face as I thought of all the pas es we
eaten anything since I le the hotel in Mis- used to eat when I was growing up—beef
soula before the sun rose. and diced potato filled turnovers smoth-
ered in brown gravy. As tumultuous as my
The green metal highway sign informed
me that the exit to Echo, a town I had nev- me in Montana was as I was growing up, I
er heard of, was coming up. “Why not?” I did abscond with some nice memories.
thought to myself. Surely there must be a
café or something along whatever cons - I nudged open the glass door of the café
tuted the main stretch of road. I had always and saw pre y much what I was expec ng.
found visi ng new towns in Montana to be Behind the counter stood a woman skill-
an adventure in and of itself. I never knew if fully wrapping silverware in generic white
I’d find welcoming or isola on, a rancher’s napkins as though she’d been doing it since
haven or a touristy ghost town (I’m looking birth. At the counter sat two middle age
at you, Virginia City), or nothing but a gas men dressed and ready to be on the cover
sta on and a worn two-lane highway. of Rural Eastern Montana Magazine, if such
a publica on ever existed. They each wore

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Revista Literária Adelaide

jeans, cowboy hats, and boots. One had a “So, I see your Washington state plates,
Carhar jacket as faded and dusty as the you movin’ out here?” Sarge asked as she
town’s sign and likely just as old, and the brought my drink to the table.
other man wore a heavy co on shirt rolled
up to the elbows. All three paused their “No, I’m driving to Michigan for a con-
conversa on as I walked in. ference,” I told her.

A er a cursory look at the newcomer, “Why are you drivin’ instead of flyin’?”
the men resumed talking and the woman
said, “Just have a seat anywhere, hon, and “Well, I don’t really like to fly. Also, I
I’ll be right there with a menu.” used to drive through eastern Montana to
visit family, and this felt like a perfect op-
I thanked her and took a window seat in portunity to drive through again,” I said to
a booth near the front door. I was staring my menu, feeling very aware that I was an
out at the empty main road, not that there obvious out-of-towner in a very small com-
was a lot to stare at, and thinking about munity. Eager to take the spotlight away
what kind of town I was in. Across the street from my business, or lack thereof, in town,
was a water tower with the town’s name I smiled and said, “Would it be possible to
painted on the side. Next to the name, I get a pasty please?”
could make out some ini als surrounded in
hearts and a local ar st’s rendi on of the “Comin’ right up,” she replied.
Metallica logo. At the foot of the water tow-
er sat a classic pickup truck. Its dirty, faded As I watched her walk away, I wondered
blue exterior suggested that it was s ll in about her name. Was it her real name?
use for work rather than showing off at car A nickname given out of irony? Was she
shows. Beyond that were plains, fences, bossy?
and an occasional house or barn.
When she brought my plate out (mmm….
The click of a ball point pen brought me pasty and lots of brown gravy!), I asked my
back to that window table, and I turned to ques on before my inner monologue had a
see my waitress approaching. She was wear- chance to say mind your own business. “So,
ing faded blue jeans, a white three-quarter can I ask where you got your name?”
sleeve t-shirt, and her sandy blonde hair
was pulled back into a no-nonsense pony- Sarge laughed and said she didn’t mind
tail. As she set a menu next to me on the at all. “If I had a quarter for each me I’ve
table, she said, “My name is Sarge. Can I been asked that, I could afford to hire my-
get you something to drink while you take a self a cook for this place!”
look at the menu?”
She leaned on the booth opposite me,
A er a quick glance at the soda ma- took a bo le of ketchup out of her apron
chine, my answer was ready: “I’d like a Dr. pocket—“Just in case you’re a ketchup and
Pepper please?” gravy girl.” She paused only for a moment
while clicking her pen. Then she started
“You got it,” she said and walked over to a story about a long me resident of the
the counter. Her boots, black and fairly ur- dusty town that chance and a hungry stom-
ban chic for a small Montana town, carried ach sent me to that day.
her rhythmically across the floor.


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Adelaide Literary Magazine

According to Sarge, Pete and Clara Ray- A couple of years ago, Sarge con nued,
mond were regular customers of Queen’s Clara began ea ng less of her meal and “for-
when Sarge took it over ten years before. ge ng” to bring her le overs home. Sarge
Each Sunday, as the novelty cuckoo clock on asked if she was feeling okay, to which she
the wall struck noon, Pete would walk up replied that she was fine. In a small town,
to the entrance, holding Clara’s hand, open word gets around, and Sarge found out that
the door, and usher in his wife wearing her Clara was ill. Pete and Clara con nued com-
Sunday best. “I can s ll see them—him in ing in each Sunday, but Sarge started ad-
gray slacks, a checkered bu on-down shirt, jus ng the por on and price of Clara’s meal
and his floppy brown fedora, and her in a to accommodate her shrinking appe te.
flowered dress, a matching cardigan, and a
li le pillbox hat like Jackie O. wore,” Sarge Then it happened.
said with a voice full of love as she stared
out the window. One Sunday, Pete and Clara did not
come in. As soon as she heard the siren’s
“When all the snow started to melt in wail, she knew that Clara had eaten her
the spring,” Sarge digressed and came back last plate of hash browns and eggs with the
to the present, “Clara preferred to sit in this yolks s ll runny.
booth. She said it allowed her the best view
of the world coming back to life.” Pete was absent for a month or so, but
then he resumed going to Queen’s a er
The elderly high school sweethearts or- church. Though Sarge tried to engage him
dered the same meal each week, and once and go the extra mile to provide friendship
Sarge became familiar with the rou ne, she and good customer service, Pete was lost
would have everything ready to cook for when in his own world. He would stare out at the
they arrived. The first me she had their eggs mountains from the booth window and sip
and hash browns ready ahead of their arriv- coffee, but he said li le.
al, Clara smiled and asked, “But, my dear girl,
what if I wanted something else today?” Pete soon stopped coming in at all. Sarge
heard from Penny Jenkins, the pastor’s
With a wide smile, Sarge replied, “Well, wife, that Pete stopped going to church.
I made you that, and you’re gonna eat it!” Some small town inves ga ng revealed
that he didn’t go anywhere. He didn’t speak
“Uh oh,” Pete said, “That sounds like an with anyone, and he sat in a squeaky dining
order to me, dear.” room chair at the oak table he and Clara re-
ceived for their wedding fi y years before.
“Oh, well then—Yes, Sergeant!” Clara His days were spent just staring at photo
said with a salute and a giggle. albums and loose photos in a faded shoe-
box. Mrs. Jenkins started taking sacks of
“Each week,” Sarge said to me, “Clara potatoes over to his house each week so he
would ask me that same ques on and call would have something to eat. He loved po-
me ‘Sarge’ and giggle like a li le girl. I loved tatoes. “Second only to Clara,” Sarge added
it.” A er a while, everyone started calling with a laugh and a wipe of a tear.
her by the nickname Clara had bestowed
upon her. “The name just sort of stuck… but “Mrs. Jenkins got an idea one day to buy
I don’t mind. Customers don’t give me as a new photo album for Pete,” she went on,
much grief,” she added with a wink. “She thought that giving him a project, sort-

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Revista Literária Adelaide

ing the photos he always looked at, would to drive to the area where Sarge had de-
give him something to do. Maybe a small scribed Pete living, and sat across the high-
step here and there would get him out of way in my car.
the house and talking to people again. Af-
ter she delivered the photo album, she told Moved by the thought of Pete si ng at
me, ‘He just took the album, nodded, and his old dining room table at that moment,
closed the door.’” I grabbed a pen and the envelope from my
vehicle registra on out of my glove com-
Sarge said she worried about him, and partment. I looked up as some kids giggled
would stop by his li le old blue house at a er exchanging dares and ran up to the
the edge of town. Just to make sure he was house as I was preparing to write.
okay. She never could bring herself to go in-
side. “I didn’t want to be an intruder,” she I rolled my window down to yell “Get lost!”
said. Occasionally, some of the local kids
would run into Pete’s yard and sing school- Having a strange woman in a strange ve-
yard taunts about being mute or deaf or hicle yell at them startled them enough to
afraid. Sarge would tell them “Take a hike run away. As I se led back into the seat of
and leave the man alone!” They’d run off, my car, I saw the white lace curtains flu er
but she knew that they would be returning in the front window. Pete may not interact
eventually. with the ci zens of the town, but it would
seem he is aware of them.
I looked over to see that the sun had
shi ed. Sarge had been sharing stories of Confident that they’d the local kids
the town and two of its residents for over would be leaving Pete alone for a while, I
two hours. As I looked at the clock, Sarge began to write a poem inspired by a true
checked her watch. With a flick of her wrist, love story. I wondered to myself what he
I was sure I caught a glimpse of Mickey would think if I sent him a pre er copy af-
Mouse waving around the watch face. ter I got back home.

“Golly, I’m sorry,” she said, “I’ve been Fried Po-photos
doing all this gabbing and haven’t paid
any a en on to the rest of the work in my They’re outside again,
restaurant!” Singing, taun ng, laughing
Yes, I can hear them outside.
“I understand,” I said with a smile, “I ap- They think I can’t hear
preciate you visi ng with me. It’s been a lone- Since I never answer.
ly drive!” But yes. I can hear.

“It’s a beau ful story. I’ll always grab an Yes, I can hear.
opportunity to tell it,” she replied. Trapped in here.
Trapped in my four-walled hell.
I finished my pasty, which had go en My four-walled hell where
cold by that me, and le a 100% p for She le me to pine and die.
her since my experience at the café far sur-
passed a simple meal. As I got back on the
road and headed out of town, I couldn’t
stop thinking of Pete and Clara. I decided

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Adelaide Literary Magazine
I sit here and pine
But I haven’t died.
Staring at my heaven
Frozen and posing in a
Two dollar album.
The two dollar album
The preacher’s wife brought
With another sack of potatoes.
I never thank her,
But I guess she knows.
I guess she knows.
So here I sit
In my four-walled hell
Ea ng my hash browns
And missing my heaven.

About the Author:

Jamie Gogocha is a Senior Library Assistant and graduate of Central Washington University’s
Professional and Crea ve Wri ng Online Program. Jamie lives in Yelm, Washington with her
husband and their two cats. Some of her previous work has been published by Crea ve Col-
loquy and Chantwood Magazine. She also writes for Timberland Regional Library’s “Voices
of Timberland.”

44


FROM BAUHAUS

TO DACHAU

by Allen Levaniel

The soldiers raid the apartment build- the day. His band members had disappeared
ing and round up every tenant; children, three months past to an unknown place. In
too. The building erupts in chaos, with SS any event, he claims to know the name of
men shou ng and women and their chil- this mysterious place. “All of us are dead.”
dren crying. The soldiers march upstairs
to apartment 1A and burst open the door. “No, don’t say that. I don’t believe that to
Ernst sits at a scuffed table hiding his face be true.” The woman holds her child ghter.
in his hands.
The truck passes the Bauhaus. Ernst re-
“Ok, move it!” says an officer, drawing members the inside of the building vividly.
his gun. It’s where he studied as a painter over a de-
cade before.
He keeps it aimed at the back of Ernst’s
head as he shoves him downstairs. The ten- “It can’t be true,” he murmurs, closing
ants are forced outside and then pushed his eyes.
into trucks. Ernst wears a hat and a torn
checkered jacket over a shirt with a filthy In 1923, young Ernst, then twenty-four
collar. He’s stuffed in a black truck among years old, sat in the back of Professor Fre-
everyone else, like junk. A woman shivers undlich’s class, daydreaming. He stared out
while holding her child close to keep him the window as Professor Freundlich con n-
warm. Ernst takes off his jacket and places ued his lecture on impressionism, in par c-
it over the woman’s shoulders. ular the subject ma er of Claude Monet’s
pain ng Impression, Sunrise.
“Thank you,” she says, coughing into her
hands. “Do you know where we’re headed?” Professor Freundlich made his way up
the stairs toward Ernst. “And your hopes,
“No,” says Ernst. where do they lie?” he asked, gazing down
at Ernst. “Is it learning how to become an
“Does it ma er at all where they take us?” ar st or wishful thinking?”
says another tenant, he lived next door to the
woman, playing horrible notes throughout “Of course, to become an ar st, profes-
sor.”

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

“Of course, but what?” Jewish man from Vienna, he wasn’t very so-
phis cated. As he had told Ernst one night in
“But that style is outdated. Surely the the pub weeks before, he only a ended the
impressionist painters were great in their academy because his parents—namely his fa-
day. However, those days are long gone. Art ther—made him. He wasn’t the best choice
need to be relevant and modern, and even for an associate, but they shared interests,
obscured,” argued Ernst. “Why not paint nevertheless. They both drink heavily, at-
the world underneath its external image? tended shows at the Deutsches Theater, and
Instead of the skin, paint the bones.” slept with pros tutes.

The other students murmured in agree- “Tonight, I have ckets to see Josephine
ment. Baker. You want to come?” asked Hans.

“Interes ng thought,” said Professor Fre- “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it, Hans.”
undlich. “That gives me an idea. Class, your
exit exam is not only to produce a piece of “Pity. Lenora will be there.”
art, but also to invent a unique style.”
“Lenora?” Ernst murmured.
Suddenly, gunshots rang out outside
the academy. The students ran toward the “Yes, I invited her last night. She’s been
window and looked down at the mayhem. asking about you lately. She wants to see
War had ignited on the streets between you again.”
members of the Na onal Socialist German
Workers’ Party and the police. Lenora was a pros tute who, above all,
a racted high-status poli cians. Although
“What’s with the violence?” asked a stu- Ernst wasn’t a poli cian, he aspired to be
dent. part of the upper class and usually acted
bourgeois. This had a racted Lenora to
“Haven’t you been reading the papers?” him.
said another student. “The Nazis have been
a emp ng to seize power.” Hans had reserved a table in front in or-
der to see the performers up close. He and
“Yeah, but what’s new?” said a student Ernst ordered two large dishes of sautéed
at the end of the row, looking down at the German sausages with bacon apple sauer-
chaos. “There’s always a new government. kraut and a bo le of Egon Muller wine, and
Every day there’s a new government.” then waited pa ently for the show to be-
gin. Ernst had been longing to see Lenora
“Okay, class, back on task, please,” said again since the first me he had met her.
Professor Freundlich. She was one of very few pros tutes he’d
met whom he hadn’t slept with.
The students moved from the window.
Karl, an extraordinarily talented ar st, “When she’s coming?” said Ernst, light-
looked over at Ernst. He was at mes ob- ing a cigar pipe.
noxious and unapproachable. However, he
seemed to admire Ernst a great deal. “You worry too much. She’ll be here,”
said Hans. “And she’s bringing a friend.”
“Is that modern enough for you?” Karl
said as he returned to his seat. At that moment, both women sauntered
toward the table wearing sparkling red
Hans, a fellow student, approached Ernst dresses that glowed like a full moon in the
a er class. Although he was an affluent young

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Revista Literária Adelaide

midnight sky when the stars are visible no “Another drink, more drinks,” one of them
longer. The men stood and pulled the chairs called. “What kind of place is this? More
out for their dates. As they sat down, Hans drinks!”
offered them a glass of wine. Just then, the
lights dimmed, and the remarkable Jose- The bartender approached the table.
phine Baker started to sing.
“Sorry, gentlemen, but we’ll be closing
A er the show, Ernst walked Lenora shortly. It’s almost midnight,”
home.
“Don’t you know who I am? I am an of-
“You haven’t said one word to me. Are ficer, and I say give me another drink! Hand
you nervous?” asked Lenora. over the bo le.”

“A beau ful woman like you, what man “I don’t want any trouble. You’re drunk,
wouldn’t be nervous?” Herr,” said the bartender.

They stopped in front of her apartment The officer rose out of his chair. “You
building. “You wouldn’t believe the num- dare insult me!” he bellowed, slapping the
ber of asser ve men I’ve encountered,” she bartender so hard that he fell over. Ernst
said. “But you’re different.” She turned to ran over and helped the bartender to his
kiss him. feet.

“When can I see you again?” asked Ernst. “Son of a bitch,” Ernst said. “You’re noth-
ing but a bum.”
“Maybe soon.” She entered the building
giving a flirty wave. The officer staggered toward Ernst and
grabbed him by his well-tailored shirt.
Ernst walked down the street and stopped
in front of a pub. He entered the dingy pub “You must be either a fucking Marxist
and looked around. Three men sat at a table or a Communist. You fucking punk! I’ll have
in the center of the floor. you arrested and shot.”

“Are you serving s ll?” he asked the The other patrons stopped talking. The
white-haired bartender. pub was chillingly quiet.

“Yes, we are, Herr. What can I get for “Cool yourself, comrade,” said one of
you?” The bartender coughed into his hand- the men sprawled at the same table. “Be-
kerchief. sides, he’s right. It is ge ng late.”

“A glass of Brandy will do fine.” Ernst The officer untangled his hand from
walked up to the chipped counter and sat Ernst’s collar. He turned to his companions
on a wobbly bar stool. and held one finger in the air, then began
singing the German na onal anthem in a
The bartender placed a glass on the bar deep voice. The three men exited the beer
and filled it to the brim from a bo le of hall, singing loudly in the street.
Brandy. He set the bo le beside the glasses
and leaned forward on the bar redly. The “I’m alright now, thank you,” the bar-
three men si ng at the table were drunk tender said, clearing the table. “They’re
and boasted loudly to each other about barbarians, you know. But I should be al-
their dates the night before. right. You have that drink on me.”

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

When he had finished his drink, Ernst him apart from other ar sts. The silver sun-
le the pub. He proceeded down the glasses he wore to hide the defect dis n-
street, turned the corner, and then came to guished him even more.
an abrupt stop. In a dark alley between two
abandoned buildings, the three men from It was the first of April, 1924. Ernst sat
the pub were bea ng up someone. Sud- in the art room staring unblinkingly at the
denly, the most obnoxious officer, the one blank canvas. These days, he spent most of
wearing collar and shoulder patches, spot- his me confined to the art room, finding
ted Ernst. Ernst dashed across the street, the inspira on to create art. The Berlin-
the men on his heels. He ran through a de- er newspaper was le in the room, which
serted park and finally arrived in front the headlines shouted the failed a empt of the
academy. He shouted for help. ‘March on the General’s Hall’ lead by Ad-
olf Hitler, who was detained by police, had
Unfortunately, not one person heard been sentenced to five years at Landsberg
him and the doors were locked. Ernst hur- Prison.
ried around the building, running past gar-
bage bins into a dead end. He turned to Ernst set the paper aside. At once, he
face the men, who slowly approached him. began pain ng a victorious German holding
Out of the corner of his eye, Ernst saw a the na onal flag and a defeated Nazi, head-
long metal pipe on the ground. He picked less and without a flag or leader. He painted
it up and swung it, hi ng one man in the in the cubist style.
arm. The other two a ackers wrestled him
to the ground and then began bea ng him As he worked, Professor Freundlich walked
savagely. They kicked him in the chest and into the room. “How are you?” the professor
stomach and back. They stomped on his asked.
ribs and punched him in the face un l he
was unconscious. Not completely sa sfied, “I’m okay,” said Ernst.
one of the a ackers then shot Ernst with a
handgun. Ernst laid in his own blood, seem- “What’s this you’re working on?” Pro-
ingly lifeless. fessor Freundlich gazed at the pain ng.

Ernst fought with every bit of strength “Expressions. What do you think of it?”
within himself to open his eyes. Through
blurry vision he saw he was in the hospital “I think it’s mely, considering your un-
and, more importantly, alive. A er an hour fortunate encounter with them. The use of
his vision cleared. violent colors reveals your anger towards
those men responsible for a acking you.”
A doctor leaned over him. “Herr Ernst
Goldstein, you’re very lucky. You won’t be “I promise that won’t happen again,”
able to talk for a few days or walk for a said Ernst, staring at his coat lying beside
couple weeks, but at least you are able to the window.
breathe.”
“You have what it takes to be a great art-
Ernst slowly recovered. However, a bul- ist, Ernst. I see life in your pain ng, but not
let to his head le him permanently blind in you. Are you living?”
in his right eye, which, in some ways, set
“I’m alive, professor.” Said Ernst.

He dri ed into a miserable state of
unimaginable despair and drunkenness,

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