Art (c) 2005 Mattthew Skenador
Flash Fiction by Tomi Shaw

Vulva wraps her feet in a blanket before she turns on the VCR. Her feet are always cold. Her hands too, but she figures it would look really stupid to sit on the couch watching porn in mittens. It doesn't matter that she's alone, that no one would see her sitting watching the tube in mittens. The only thing that matters is how you look. Always.

Ox the porn star premieres every one of his new films on the big screen TV in the media room of his basement. He uses a caterer for the cheese and crackers. Ox hates cheese. He likes bartending, though, and is setting up the liquors and mixers for the big show. In addition to the gang in the biz, his brother-in-law and father are always present.

Milk and Cookies wanted to be a film with the pretense of story and plot. There's a lot of jizz, ostensibly the milk ingredient. Five thousand dollar tits and four thousand dollar asses are obviously the cookies part. The flick surely missed the mark as far as the whole comfort via childhood memories of cookies and milk goes. Mama, in this particular story, takes arm-size dildos up the butt.

It was never Vulva's intention to become a porn star. When she was a little girl, she used to watch MTV with her mom. She wanted to be a singer, like Pat Benatar, Olivia Newton John in Grease, Lita Ford. A choir teacher in junior high school had laughed at her, behind closed doors, no one present. She'd told Vulva it was a good thing she was pretty, that she'd never be anything but someone's sperm receptacle. Vulva had to look up receptacle. Shortly thereafter, Vulva started puking after eating.

To a man, they're all drunk. Ox never skimps on the booze, and he consistently drinks what's left in the shaker after he fills the chilled glasses. It's a good thing Pop and Bub drink scotch and water. Ox doesn't have to mix theirs. Scotch makes him hurl, especially with the smell of hot cheese in the air, no doubt because Pop's neighbor used to give him a cheese sandwich and shot of scotch before taking him to the cellar to show him where he kept the rakes. Ox lost his ass-cherry when he was twelve.

Sometimes, little green intestinal bugs aren't microscopic bacteria or viruses. A lot of the times, they're big ochre psych monsters that get inside you, spew. Communicable, they take root in dark places, germinate and blossom. They will do whatever it is they have to do to stay alive. Often, they are so quiet no one notices them, until someone throws up one too many times. The story can only end one of two ways: get 'em-twisted and hung in the vines- out or die.

Zodiacal Hunger
Gretchen is a goat, hairy and hoary, she was born that way. Long about her thirty-fifth year, she married an attorney who paid his bills badly. When the electricity winked out, the gas petered and the phone went dead, she kicked up her heels and threw a hissy. He simply shrugged, saying “love” and took her to bed. It worked until her belly growled, rumbling her need into his back. Starting with his earlobe, he let her feast. She didn’t stop until she was well into the bones of his neck, crunching them. And somewhere in the satiation of her thirst on his blood, she heard the scales of his justice come unbalanced.
Best Not Served Cold, Or Hot
I lingered-imagining: no more cleaning dip-spit from the sink, no more other-woman smells in his boxers, no more incessant snoring with porn blaring its bawchikabawbaw from the TV-with my fingernails sunk deep into his neck, ignoring Lady Macbeth's prescriptive ghost and ended up my own damned spot, cursed.
She slashed his legs with the branches from a willow tree. Menopause. Mood swings. Manic. It hurt. Willows cut the air, vibrating WHs and SSs before the sting sunk into his skin, sound a prelude to pain. He learned young. In the name of Love, she whipped him. In the name of Knowledge. And God. She swallowed yellow pills and gold liquors, skinning branches. Skinning hide. Slowly, she educated his ear to the hum. He learned long. When in the course of time he finally gave back-killed her-it was to the noise of her dying he listened. It was to those sounds, he scribed his lyric and melody. It is to that song-in it-he hears his own tears. He learned late.
By Snow Falling

"I never meant it." Your voice echoes, visible in the bare air, evidence that you spoke. You watch the snow swirl and pile, blow and drift. It's getting nasty out there…too.

Snow doesn't make you crazy. Lack of sun does. Your gut feels it, gets cold. You long for sun-spark, honeysuckle-perfume, the curl of ginger-root, a spider's web.

You get the memory of pterodactyl, the air-currents pushing his body into tarry mud, his radar askew. You get knowledge of Nun, solitude, sparse, married but not. You get visions of hot dog, just one, slathered in giraffe-colored mustard and relish, with onions that burn.

Flannel is what you feel. Monopoly the game you played.

Outside, the fairy-Blizzard-cuts you off. This cocoon you've wrapped yourself in reminds you that before you said, "I do" you said, "I can't."

Music by Steve Kane
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