Published by Burrow Press, Feb. 16, 2011
Paperback, 119 pages w/ black & white photos
Fragmentation + other stories is a short story anthology of Florida authors which contains at least one structure fire, an instance of fellatio behind a Season’s 52, five types of existential ennui, and three characters with really dirty mouths (a first-year teacher, a romantic with Tourette’s, and an ice cream man).
For a long time, the first words from my mouth were â€śskullfucker.â€ť I was powerless to start sentences otherwise.
My mother would say, â€śWhereâ€™s the milk we bought at the store? I donâ€™t see it in the truck.â€ť
â€śSkullfucker fucking took that milk mom.â€ť
We tried soap. We tried long talks, but the long talks leftÂ mom splotchy, and me sodden with guilt.
A pastor came to us.
I said, â€śSkullfucker Jesus,â€ť as calm as pass the sugar.
The pastor said, â€śJesus forgives those who ask forgiveness. Letâ€™s pray.â€ť
But I did not pray. I said, â€śSkullfucker donâ€™t ask for shit!â€ť
Doctors ruled out demonic possession, but ran from the house nonetheless shamed.
I repeated grades in school.
Grandmother turned her narrow back to me and later died.
On the first day of each month, I said, â€śSkullfucker skullfucker. Rabbit rabbit.â€ť For luck, just in case.
I began to dream of a cure, or a woman like me. Together weâ€™d overcome our deficiencies. I imagined our romance. Weâ€™d meet somewhere dark with dark curtains, dust motes and
candles. Clove cigarettes. Cherub-headed taps.
Iâ€™d say, â€śSkullfucker how are you?â€ť
Sheâ€™d say, â€śSkullfucker Iâ€™m great.â€ť
For a moment weâ€™d sit suspiciously silent. Is she fucking with me?
â€śSkullfucker where are you from?â€ť Iâ€™d ask after a while.
â€śSkullfucker Des Moines, Washington. Where are you from?â€ť
â€śSkullfucker Nebraska, but I left that shit hole and fuck me if I ever go back.â€ť
â€śSkullfucker totally,â€ť sheâ€™d say.
Weâ€™d order oyster shooters and happy-hour well gin, and the bartender would eject us for language. Back to my place for talk and drinks, and movies and cuddling, and uncoordinated first-time sex. Quiet days of divine understanding would give way to one lambent moment where sheâ€™d look at me and Iâ€™d look at her. Together, like a flock of geese, weâ€™d say, â€śSkullfucker I love you,â€ť and move on to the bold things we couldnâ€™t yet imagine.