The following is a guest post by author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. Mitchell has had over seven hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.
Denise is an image on a napkin, her face pockmarked with coffee stains, her eyes dark, penetrating. She wears a boy scout shirt. She’s a woman, but thinks she looks like a twelve-year-old boy. She suspects her dates are secret pedophiles and never invites them in.
My dog and cat ran away. They’d been conspiring, waiting ‘til winter, so they could cross the frozen lake. They know I can’t stand cold, detest arctic wind, and don’t trust the thickness of ice. Both of them were calico. They had that in common, despite their difference in species. They told each other that they lived in a post-species world, and were thus mutually reassured.
It was a lonely morning when I awoke and padded into the cold living room to find them gone. I knew right away what had happened, as I did when Denise left me, even before I found the note nailed to the black walnut cutting board I’d given her one Xmas. It was beautiful, dark and severe like her, but she showed no enthusiasm for it. She didn’t take much with her, only her collection of boy scout uniforms, her entire wardrobe.
My dog and cat agreed with Denise: I could be a condescending bastard, and insensitive. They’ve only been gone a couple of days, but I’ve already forgotten their names. There are more dogs and cats in the pound. They see me coming and shrink away. They can tell the kind of man I am. That’s what the low woofs meant, the sour meows.
Denise’s eyelids are as thick as organic potato chips, and I fall in love with her instantly. I want to lean over and lick her eyes, taste the salt, but I don’t even know her. We’re just passengers on the same bus. She took the last seat, the one next to me. I pretend to fall asleep. I even make snore noises, my head on her shoulder.