Hong Kong Shark

He was never my son. He was hers, and when she left, I, of course, got stuck with him. He never did understand. He wanted to save the whales, the turtles, the sharks, would save the devil if it was a living force oppressed on earth. It wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t so soft. They call it a Hong Kong shark for a reason. They aren’t kind creatures. People need to eat, and this creature is large enough to feed a village for a week. I know what they’re getting at, but they’ve never been overboard with a Kong. They’ve never been waiting to be pulled back on deck, with those beasts circling around, like a child playing with its food. Finally finishing their prey in two or three generous bites.

He couldn’t do much, so I’d have him pull in the net, but this time something got caught. He leaned over the side of the ship, freeing the excess fish caught with the Kongs.
Sometimes I’d look at him. I’d look at those fish flailing like if they struggled enough they could earn their freedom. I have been struggling for the better part of my life.
He had other things on his mind. He thought it too cruel to leave these fish trapped with such a predator. Hell, I figured it made it easier to find the net. The blood; a single drop of food dye in a bucket of water, spreading, expanding, but otherwise dissipating. He didn’t ask for my help then, probably felt like he had something to prove. His body balanced on the edge of the ship.

“Be caref–!” And he fell in. “Dad!” he looked at me with cavernous eyes. His head jerked as he searched the uproarious waters. A grey, slick nose rubbed against the underside of his foot.
“Get me out of here!” Thrashing in the water. He stopped then. He must have remembered the way it would draw attention to seals, sea lions. They’d be left in pieces, too minuscule to salvage for sushi. He stopped, waiting. I couldn’t make out what swam around him, only movement. The sea beneath him looked like a wild orgy in a storage closet. I panicked. I grabbed one of the rods we used to hold down the fish that overwhelmed the deck.

He gripped it, sliding his hands up the pole, using the ledge of the ship as leverage, I leaned back.
It took all of the strength I had.
He screamed before the pole snapped.
“Dad,” His voice tremored. He looked pale, his skin the same hue as his widened eyes. The wriggling mass of life that was under him had become foggy and red. “I’m getting help.” I didn’t shout. I didn’t panic.
I didn’t know if it were true, but I knew he needed to believe it if he was getting out alive. I worked the control box, raising the net, but this only brought them closer together.
I watched as a second and third Kong eyed my son. There was a look in the face of these monsters. I had seen it few times before. Like they were solving a math problem, just before they’d speed towards the kill their face would contort into a smile, indicating they’d found the solution. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to never see that face again. I pressed the button on the control box, the net dropped opening to the sea. That was the last time I ever saw him.

Freedom is a Dog’s Best Friend

“Don’t you ever tire of shoving your finger up noses?” The thick man, painted in tattoos and decorated in piercings glared. He put his finger up the dog’s nostril, marking where the stud would be placed by a black dot. The mini poodle wagged its tail, and his head traced the walls of the room, excited to be someplace new. The man placed one of his fleshy cleavers on the back of the puppy, he lined up the needle, but the dog jerked his head out of place. “C’mon snuffiluffigous. This week you have to be punk.” She slid her sunglasses down the bridge of her nose, the loud smack of chewing gum reverberating through the room. “That can be done right?” She reminded me so much of Paris Hilton. Maybe it was the long heels, or the blonde hair, or the I.Q. lower than the price of gas. Someday I’ll get the courage to leave, but for now. The dog squealed like a pig being led to the slaughter. The dog laid his head against the piercing table. Defeated, we looked at eachother. Snuffilufigous and I both knew how wrong this was.

“AWWWWW Snuffilufigous you look so Metal! We’ll win the competition for sure!”
“Punk sweetie.”
“What?” She rotated on her heals like the earth and the sun, glaring like the ogre with the needle.
“She has to be punk for this, not metal.”
“Please Frank, it’s all the same shit.”
Joe Strummer was talking to me. I could hear it deep within the recess of my mind. “Grab the freesta breeze from her hand, throw it in her face, and run for the fucking hills.”
“not quite.”
She grabbed the poodle off of the table, and strutted her way through the front door.

“Ma’am you have to pay for it!”

I sighed. I didn’t need this shit. “I’ve got it covered” I wrapped it up. 190$ for a piercing, right. That was bullshit.

“You know, a pretty face isn’t everything.” I circle no tip. “Yeah well, thanks for your philosophy.” Bullshit.
But she knew how to make my tail wag, and that’s it. That’s all it is. That’s when I think about when she’s torturing our poor dog for the next pageant, squeezed into a leather jacket that’s more of a corset than anything. The scratch to my itch is what I think about when she tells me how “warm Hiroshima must be now that there’s radiation, how good it has to be for sun bathing.” I smile and nod, I don’t bark, because if I do, there will be no one to scratch behind my ears.
She goes straight to the bedroom. “come here honey.” I open the back door. The dog scratches at his nose piercing. “Bad dog!” He stops for a moment, running outside. Outside of this place he is ecstatic. Smiling mouths, and the most his tail has wagged all day. He scratches at the nose ring again, but I say nothing. Placing his paw on his nose he tears it out. It glimmers in the grass, and a small stream of blood runs down its face. There’s a hole in the fence he thinks we don’t know about. I turn to grab the keys off of the hook on the wall. When I look back to the yard, Snuffilufigous is gone. I turn and walk out the front door.

“Are you coming baby?”

Watching the Legs like Cheetos

“I can’t pay the rent this month.” Dave said as a matter of fact.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean there was a family emergency, and they need it more than I do. Family has to come first, Rich.”
“Dave I can see into your room.” Richard leaned to the side, looking over Dave’s shoulder. A pile of bags of Cheetos to the waist.
“What do you need 200 family sized bags of Cheetos for?”
“146 to be exact, Rich. And it’s a religious tradition.
We fill up a small pool of Cheetos, each of us bringing exactly 146 bags, and drop one single apple core, from an apple eaten by Mother’s best hog,
we all dive in the pool and whoever finds it gets a smooch from aunt Agnis.”

His voice floated like a cloud when he spoke her name.
“Not only did you spend your rent on 146 bags of Cheetos,
but you bought these Cheetos so you could kiss your aunt.”
“Woah. Woah.. don’t be a pervert Rich. It’s aunt Agnis, not just any aunt. The billowy, voluptuous, roaming the halls late at night in nothing but a bright red, revealing night gown Aunt Agnis, and this year she will be mine.”
Dave pauses to look off in the distance like an action hero.
“She will be.”
“I just..” Richard’s face turned pale, and his forehead dripped with sweat. “Don’t understand.”
“Maybe it’s time you sat down Dick.”
Bending over to sit down: “It’s Rich, asshole.”
It was then that she walked through the door. Like a kayak on unsteady waters, her hips swayed, and with them, as did the rest of her. Swaying through the door, red lipstick. The only thing I can stand to describe without an extra pair of underwear on hand. She was voluptuous, she was billowy… in the right places.
She was I-chee Wowa.
“I hope you’re not talking to my favorite nephew that way.” Dave turned red.
The heels made a slight clicking sound against the wooden floor.
“Uhm. No. Ma’m. I wouldn’t. I would never.” He nearly keeled over and died right there.
“You better not be.” She pivoted on her heel indicating she was finished.
“Excuse me.” He said it quietly, but.

“Is there any way I could join in tonight’s festivities?” He tried to talk like he’d imagine Hue Hefner would.
“I’m sure that won’t be a problem, Dave.”
She said his name.
“Did you remember the Apple core?” Dave half smiled, the eroticism recognizable at any distance.
“The apple core?”
“Well no one can kiss you without the Apple core.”
“What the hell are you talking about Dave?

I’m not going to kiss you.” She looked distraught.

He looked past her and saw Richard snickering in the far corner of the room.

Herding Hurt

Sometimes with narration,
Unlike poetry
The sentences hurt,
You can feel them leave your body like thorns
Or splinters.
Or maybe we’re the wood
And prose is the axe man
splitting us into dozens of tiny pieces
Before throwing us on the fire
And using us as kindling.