Sweetie turns up behind Stella’s Lounge, just when you, the Not-Broke Patron slide out the Ionia exit. She spins the Wheel of Sob Stories. You get the flash fiction you get, the lack of a drawn expression. You are offered Lack.
You end up lighter one George Washington, a cheap bribe for a twitching conscience regaled by fables of deconstruction. Or hold back the handout, drop that simple, solid — No . — the Not-Broke Patron’s stiff-arm option. That syllable has the full force of a Phil Spector Wall of Sound upon Sweetie’s sour expression.
Once upon another evening Sweetie hit me up for bus funds, for medicine monies.
And I must’ve drunk cheap-ass lager faster than sipping speed, since I half of halfway believed her homespun shaggy dog story.
I overlooked the semi truck-sized holes in a daisy chain of fresh-pressed lies.
I asked, “Are you cold?”
TODD MERCER’s digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, was published by Right Hand Pointing (2015). Winner of two Dyer-Ives Prizes and the first Woodstock Writers Festival Flash Fiction contest, Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in journals such as The Camel Saloon, The Legendary and Midwestern Gothic.