, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Robert Scotellaro

He awoke and dragged their bodies out of bed. He told himself it was the arthritis. Over coffee the voices were there (the usual suspects), some turning, startled, before a word could be uttered: the spray. Others begging — the big money offers, eyes bugged and jittery. One even offering his wife for a pass and a chance to leave the country.

But a job was a job, and what was a man if he couldn’t do what he set out to do, be counted on. He glanced at the newspaper, some headlines, and shook his head with a what’s-the-world-coming-to lopsided twist to his mouth. He looked forward to checking out the Obits.

There were some pigeons outside on the sill. They sounded like they were in love. He put out a few crumbs, but they fluttered off. They’d soon circle back. When he was younger he would have snapped their necks. He wondered if Janis would call. Thirty-two years apart and he still liked a word or two. All those years she never asked questions.

He slow-walked back to the kitchen — dragged a few bodies with him — their shoes scraping along the linoleum.

Robert Scotellaro has published widely in national and international books, journals and anthologies, including W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, NANO Fiction, Gargoyle, New Flash Fiction Review, Matter Press, and many others. Two of his stories were published in Best Small Fictions (2016 and 2017). He is the author of seven literary chapbooks, several books for children, and three full-length story collections: Measuring the Distance, What We Know So Far (winner of the 2015 Blue Light Book Award), and Bad Motel. He was the recipient of Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award in Poetry. He has, along with James Thomas, edited New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, by W.W. Norton & Company (2018). Robert lives with his wife in San Francisco. Visit him at rsflashfiction.com.