George Korolog

Boogie Down

          

                  We are always teetering on the edge of truth,

leaning
a little to the left, 


                  drifting, 

                                        a little to the right,
or losing balance

                                                                     and falling completely off.

You tell me your name.
I say, sure.
what’s in a name.


        I know it’s hard to say it right,
        but try.


			
Just move your feet.


                  A slick little dance move.
                  Cha Cha Cha.


When we’re in rhythm, 

we can both see it clearly.

                  A bold-faced lie isn’t far from the truth
                  and neither is the truth
   
                  that far from the truth.

So just play the music,
and let’s dance away.


——

George Korolog is a San Francisco Bay Area poet and writer whose work has been widely published in journals such as The Los Angeles Review, The Southern Indiana Review, Pithead Chapel, Cultural Weekly, Word Riot, The Monarch Review, Naugatuck River Review, Poets and Artists Magazine and many others,. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has also been nominated for Best of the Net. His first book of poetry, Collapsing Outside the Box, was published by Aldrich Press in November 2012 and is available on Amazon. His second book of poems, Raw String, was published in October, 2013, by Finishing Line Press. He is currently working on his third book of poetry, Thanks for Everything Anyway.

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Mark F. Geatches

What Now?

Silfons sat at her desk barely able to think. Her hands flowed over the writing filament in an angry blur. Outside the sky was grey with a dreary black rain that intensified her emotional state. She was so upset she was nearly opaque.

 

Dear Moms and Dads,

Fleidle died yesterday. He was so young. He had our whole lives ahead of us. It all sounds so cliché, but it isn’t is it? As you can imagine the initial shock is very disturbing. We’re embarrassed to admit we almost shed a tear; as if that were possible. Does this letter sound incoherent? We admit, we’re not ourselves today. Fleidle’s death changes everything. The three of us were going to be so happy. We hate to sound selfish, but what good is he now? Really. We’ll be just like the four of you; no flesh or blood, no sensations, no trips back to the living. Sure, we can share our beings, our thoughts, and our lives; but nothing substantial. Nothing tangible. And don’t try to tell me different. You’ve admitted on more than one occasion how much of a loss it is. Oh how we wish we never died. Here we are blaming him when we’re the one who died first; and that decades before we ever met him. We’re so selfish.

What now? What are our chances of finding another fleshling to join with? We’re sure you’ll write back with your traditional beliefs of honor and fidelity even after death. We’ll save you the trouble and write your letter for you:

 

Dear Sweet Silfons,

Give it time. You’ll see. After all, time is the one thing you have an abundance of. There is love beyond death in Hermoiy the Nether. We promise. Sure it’s different. But it’s fulfilling nonetheless. You’ll see.

Mothers and Fathers

 

What if we don’t want to see? What if we don’t want to be honorable and traditional? What if we want the sensations of the flesh? As it is, we have to wait half a cycle before we can even see Fleidle again. Anyway, we’re not writing for permission. We’re not even sure why we’re writing. We guess we just wanted you to know what’s happening in our lives.

With love,

Silfons

 
Silfons rolled up the letter and passed through the living room wall. “Falco. Deliver this to Moms and Dads.”

She watched the large rock lizard turn orange and saunter in her direction.

“Today lazy!”

The brute leaped at her and hovered inches from her tear streaked faces. Falco opened its mouth and delicately took the letter between its fangs, then made a cooing sound. He nudged Silfons’ faces with its nose as the color dissipated from his body. When he was rendered nearly transparent he streaked away.

Silfons’ heads slumped down one after the other, not quite in unison. This is too much for us, she thought. We did love Fleidle, but how much of that was because of his flesh? He knew it was his flesh that brought us together in the first place. We suppose we can try it with the four of us and see how we like it. But we hate to drag him along only to dump him for a fleshling sometime in the future. That wouldn’t be right. But he knew… “Gods! We can’t even think straight!”

Silfons looked out over the petrified undergrowth and sighed. She thought, but to leave him now when he’s alone and frightened. We remember the transition to death almost killed us. Silfons laughed.

“Our death almost killed us. We are in a state Sinfons,” she said to herselves. “It just wouldn’t be right to do that to him. Fleidle deserves better than that. But…”

The upper tendrils of a blossoming sour wood tree rustled ever so slightly in the distance drawing Silfons’ attention. When she looked up, her pet was already returning, smudging the landscape with his swift advance. She smiled despite herselves. That lizard is one in a million, she thought.

It flew toward Sifons and made its abrupt stop when they were face to faces. As he turned opaque Silfons rubbed Falco’s massive head and said, “Thank you boy. We’re sorry we barked at you earlier.”

He dropped a letter into Silfons’ hands and licked her faces emitting a harsh scent of Roses that lasted a fraction of an instant.

Silfons drifted through the window and sat at her desk. She unrolled the letter and lowered her gazes to read her parent’s response.

She gasped, “It’s from Fleidles. How can this be? They can’t communicate so soon.”

She panted for breath as both pairs of her hands shakily reached for the transparent filament. Holding it aloft she read:

 

Dear Silfons,

By the time you receive this letter I will be dead. I hope you’re already aware of it and that I’m not the one informing you. I am sorry I ruined your chance to marry a fleshling. I know it was your greatest desire. I love you very much and it is my hope you will wait for me on the other side. I realize it will no longer be the three of us, but four can be happy as well. It is said there can be love beyond death. I will come for you as soon as I am able. Please wait for me.

All my love,

Fleidle

 

“What now?” Silfons screamed. Her voices echoed from room to room; any louder and the resident fleshlings would have heard it. “Who does he think he is pressuring us like this? It’s not fair!”

Silfon’s flew up the ornate stairway and into the attic. After whizzing around the room numerous times she settled into a spindle rocking chair. Her trembling made the chair creak as it moved imperceptibly. The sound of the dark drizzle hitting the roof slowly eased her worry and she was soon able to come to a rational decision. “We’ll wait my love. You do deserve a chance.”

*****

Dear Moms and Dads,

Time has flown by. We guess it always does for the dead. Fleidles arrives tomorrow. We must admit we’re looking forward to seeing them. We’re still concerned there won’t be enough love to make up for their lack of flesh. Even so, we’re glad we waited. It will be fun showing them the baked plateau of Marstop, the ancient chemical fields, and especially the death spiral of Jerome. We’re even a little excited to share our chamber with them. We’ve never been intimate with the dead before. Will we even feel pleasure?

Love,

Silfons

*****

Seven cycles later:

The chaotic sound of stringed and wind instruments bled into the lobby of the auditorium as the orchestra warmed up. Silfons and Fleidles were among hundreds of anxious patrons as they drifted through the crowd; their four incandescent smiles radiating with excitement.

A nicely scarred woman at the kiosk asked, “May we have your tickets please?” After accepting them she chimed, “My, how nice. These are the best seats in the house, acoustically speaking. Enjoy.”

“Thank you,” Silfons exclaimed. “It’s our anniversary and we’re so excited to be a part of this.”

The orchestra was in place and would soon perform the premier of Mahrolls’ Ninth Symphony with full Choir and Orchestra. Wafting into the theater, Silfons gasped when she noticed how the audience glowed with anticipation.

Silfons and Fleidles floated to their seats hands in hands. As soon as they were seated the conductors slid to the podium accepting thunderous applause from the audiences. They turned their backs to the audiences and lifted their right hands calling for silence. In the lull before the first note sounded Silfons turned affectionately to Fleidles. She laid her right hands on his chests and brought her faces close to his ears.

She whispered, “Fleidles darling. There is love beyond death. We’re so glad we waited!”

 

The End

——

Whether writing, reading, or riding his Mahindra tractor, Mark’s assiduity is accompanied by music. Mark finds music and writing the perfect mental connection; the nexus of focus and inspiration. Mark’s fiction has been published in Romance Magazine, Cowboy Poetry Press, Faith Hope and Fiction, Infective Ink, and A Thousand and One Stories. His middle grade novel Tamar and PJ’s Giant Adventure is under contract with World Castle Publishing.

——

Don Foster

Hunch

Too much afternoon coffee has Alejandro’s belly glup-glupping as his tiny red car bounces along the rutted dirt lane. Just a few minutes before, he was on an actual road. An actual road with a yellow line and painted shoulders. An arterial road tying into the same bypass that led to the vulgar three story building where he has wasted his nine to five the past eight years. But here he is now, no cubicle, no pavement, and nowhere left to go until he trades four wheels for two legs. He stares at the steel gate and rusty fence separating him from the wooded acreage.

Alejandro kills the ignition, listens to the engine tick in the cold. Already the sun has begun its slow melt into the horizon.

His door, buckled in the middle from a parking lot incident, creaks and pops until he leans enough bulk into it to latch it shut. The noise, transposed with what should be silence, raises goosebumps on the back of his neck.

About a hundred feet to the left, he spots an opening where the ailing wire has been tamped down. He is just tall enough to swing one leg over without snagging his crotch. Clearing the other leg, he notices a swatch of black fabric torn in the shape of Tennessee caught in the fence tie. Alejandro used to think emotions were something to control, but those self-empowerment books teach you everything that does not work. Fear is not something to be compartmentalized and checked off. Fear does not negotiate with positive affirmations and other slights of the mind. Fear absorbs you, owns you, then propels you towards your destiny.

Four months ago, life was simple. Boring and blunt, but that’s how he preferred things— a lot of dull, flat surface, no edge. Then his gift came along. Gift—ha! The words people tossed around. There were other words, too, such as psychic, clairvoyant, medium. But that last one wasn’t true, at least not initially.

It started small, Alejandro lounging on his hand-me-down sofa in plaid pajamas and pit-stained tee, trying to place the blonde from the police drama. A voice, not unlike his own, told him to check the kitchen. He ignored it—why wouldn’t he? But he kept hearing it: check the kitchen. He decided it could wait until commercial break; he had the actress pegged now and liked where his imagination was going. He’d seen her in one of those late-night skin flicks populating premium cable, five years ago maybe. The actress’s grapefruit-sized breasts strained against her white blouse as she leaned over the corpse, studying the exit wound. As he tried to recreate those beauties unholstered at the height of a saxophone-infused love scene, a screech sliced through the air, startling him from the couch.

It was a small fire, nothing a plastic souvenir cup topped with water couldn’t extinguish, but it shook him nonetheless. The result of a candle left precariously close to a dangling paper towel, a stupid oversight. He chalked the occurrence up to happenstance, but soon his new awareness became something he couldn’t reason away. Like applying the brakes mere seconds before the doe appeared, seeing the elderly man clutch his chest and collapse in the aisle an instance before it happened. He even played his new skill to his advantage in the company football pool whenever he got a hunch. His friend Chris, growing suspicious of Alejandro’s recent winnings, wanted to know exactly where this luck was coming from. Alejandro pulled him aside outside the breakroom and told him about the fire and the string of events since.

“Sounds like BS, I know, but I’ll prove it to you. Bethany’s going to be wearing this three-dimensional Rudolph eyesore tomorrow for the ugly sweater contest. But she won’t be here twenty minutes before she’s covered in that green smoothie she slurps on. It’ll look like poor Rudolph had a case of Montezuma’s revenge.”

Chris clapped Alejandro on the shoulder and laughed it off, but sure enough Bethany was heading back home to change fifteen minutes after she arrived. Word of Alejandro’s gift spread and his coworkers formed lines to seek him in private. Mary wanted to know if her husband was cheating with the neighbor. Wayne implored about his son getting clean. Rhonda asked about her mother’s cancer. And when Alejandro told the truth, that he didn’t know, they still searched him with clingy eyes bedazzled with hope, like he was some sort of office messiah sent to save them from life’s uncertainties. But as time passed, and they still didn’t have their answers, they began snubbing him in the hall, excluding him from conversations.

Even Chris turned on him when tragedy struck. His sister went missing. Went to her bartending job one night and never came home. The police were slow to file a missing person. Leads were nonexistent. Alejandro’s life continued as per the norm, little psychic blips consequential to no one, but then the frequency changed a few weeks after the investigation. All of a sudden he was on some next level shit he prayed would end.

But it wouldn’t.

Alejandro tramps over sodden leaves, circumnavigates the brambles and scraggly underbrush. The trees filter the sun in sleeves of lambent light and shadow. Not too far ahead he sees what God has abandoned to predators and nature’s unrelenting hand.

——

Don Foster is a writer who spends much of his day masquerading as a flooring salesman. His fiction has appeared in Arcadia Magazine and Cooper Street. He is currently trying his hand at a novel. You can reach him on twitter @fitprose.

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