House Beer #7 by Fortunato Salazar

Her goal was: get dressed, go back to the venue. Her feet already were dressed. Either that or her feet were bait. One foot felt like it was keeping her attached. It didn’t actually “feel” because it had gone numb. Okay, she owed her attachment to that one foot.

But at least one foot was…seated. Numb or not numb, it wouldn’t be subjected to a tooth. A row of teeth. She cast a cold eye away from the row of teeth. The eye could be cold because it was away. Her cheeks were on fire because she’d turned away. A blaze burned in her cheeks which had been exposed for too long to the searing violence of the row of teeth.

Also, her butt was numb, her butt cheeks, they’d gone to sleep without supervision and however it was okay, they were hanging on. Her tongue caressed her own teeth as she asked the question about her butt cheeks and how long they would hang on.

Something in the sweetness of the air felt somehow…absent. An enchanted smile aimed in her direction would have made her self-conscious. No enchanted smiles. Or at least none aimed with accuracy.

Volleyball once had been a source of envy. But what she really wanted was a white tooth on a tablecloth, a white tablecloth. Then to wring the tablecloth out, and red would drip drip drip and collect. And totally by amazing luck a red puddle would also collect around the white tooth, or better yet, a totally unrelated row of white teeth.

But now she could only watch from a distance as a red puddle collected.

Fuck! She was sitting in a red puddle. Her butt was numb and at the same time warm. The warmth had created a shallow little puddle at the top, a butt puddle. Over there, a little puddle, more like a spill; under her, another puddle that was just as genuine. Her puddle was giving her a deep freeze way up inside her butt, another miserable butt freeze.


At the same time, her shoulders were on fire…she felt a sense of protection from her shoulders, her shoulders protecting. It was like she was looking over one shoulder at a shed full of flammable oil which she’d solved. Solved and shut. If anything leaked from the shed, it would not be forming any puddles.

Fire with edges so jagged she could hang a sweater on a vertex, the little white cotton sweater that went with her dressed feet.

Oh, fuck! Her tongue was warm, too, and basically now her tongue was in the same situation as her butt. Numb, but warm, and dipped into a puddle. Another red puddle made to exist in useless embarrassment.

Pretty soon she would need a drainage pipe. Oh wait, there was a drainage pipe right there, except…it was stopped up at one end. Or not stopped up but rather closed off. What the fuck? What was the point? Now she felt like stamping in a puddle, either that or smashing the drainage pipe. Smash the pipe and find a swamp and do some stamping.

Politely detach herself and pronounce herself at liberty to stamp, just whale away.

Some animal trail would lead down to a swamp which she would remake. Then clean up her butt, preferably with warm towels so she could begin to feel her butt again sooner rather than later. Sensation would return to her butt. First, though, her butt would go berserk and totally off the clock. She rehearsed a vacant expression in preparation for those sixty seconds.

Meanwhile most of her tongue was just plain gone, submerged, and the thing about her tongue was that it did not take risks. Yet basically all that was left of her tongue was the root, abandoned in a parking lot, central to the truth and at the same time, hmm, muddling the truth.

Her tongue either was missing or was having fun without her. It would be nice to know what her tongue was up to. If she knew, she could go on with her life. The puddle could go on with its life as well. After a long time the puddle and her tongue would reconcile. She would regret that she had ever been flustered and the puddle would regret that it had ever felt unfit.

Other House Beers by Fortunato Salazar can be found in recent issues of Pinball and Shirley.

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