Writer in Residence ยท 06/24/2010

Skinny Lullaby at the Lizard Lounge: Schenectedy

The bartender looks like Ed Sullivan. Or Richard Nixon. Shoulders to ears. Stroking his chin. Is there any place to get chicken fried steak in this town? We need answers and direction. Barkley says, meanwhile back at the farm. He narrates his own life story. Tells the bartender he looks like Boris Karloff only not as pretty and the bartender says, I am a direct descendent of Charlemagne, to which Barkley replies, so’s my dog. Barkley says, orates, and the night drags on just like every other night, and the couple stumbles out into the street. We say shit and stamp our feet on the pavement, shoot breath from our nostrils like morning horses. Barkley pulls me close, whispers in my ear, and the couple escapes to Naples, where it’s not so cold. I tell him it is, it’s cold as hell in Naples. Drag him back inside. The lady on the stage is skinny singing something Joni Mitchell. We drink fuzzy navels. Get sleepy. Slide each other like river otters.

Kathy Fish’s short stories and flash fictions have been published widely both online and in print. A collection of her short shorts may be found in “A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women” published by Rose Metal Press. Another collection of short fiction is forthcoming from Willows Wept Press. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ 2010 Best of the Web.


posted by Roxane Gay