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Flash Fiction


Poetry by Christian Peet




Function without pain
landscaping and construction

sixty-plus hours
four months out of nine

you work at all.

Pray the boss
has more than he can handle

and out of all the other guys
and at the expense of your best friend

the boss needs you.

Park a plastic lawnchair
out back of your house, weatherman calls for

sunshowers, a 60% chance
on the vernal equinox—of course

just then the phone rings off its jack

and the boss is crying, all the lawns
are dead, all the houses burned, all

occupants long gone.
It’s sad, so there’s no work

for a few weeks.




Man’s Dream of Land and Sea

The cop cracks jokes, boiled eggs. His belt is shorter.
The picnic table groans--she couldn’t be
worth more than fifty dollars, sanded, stained

and shipped directly via, say, his Ford
What could go sour? Hey, Dick learned his lesson.
He’s unconcerned the sun is setting on

what has been called ‘a lesser seaport,’ where
once-glacial scoured hinterland meant freedom,
lovers in the buff, safe oysters. Nothing

in that rusty landscape dripping down
the windows can prepare a man for love.
His brunchmates grunt, they know that polyester

doesn’t breathe. What made Dick think new teeshirts
would save the softball league? His plans are vague
and they are tired, slight mustachioed

sea-dogs with tall full-bodied pompadours, musk
a la brine and Old Spice, drunk in a bayside surf
and turf grill, bar and lounge. ‘I kill myself’

one chortles, hurling his asparagus
across a crowded room, a mute crowd gawking
at his Army buddy soaking it all up,

sucking in his belly, wheelchairing round
to ladies, musing ‘O, for a splash of cream . . .’
‘You’re a bad dream,’ sighs the waitress. ‘Get lost.’

What’s with these guys? They’re scaring customers,
all but the pale boy rocking in his seat,
flicking ice water on his new blue goggles.

To this child and millions of Americans
who pilgrimage and pray for the fair-weather
side of New England, the coastline means only

long, carefree summer days spent lollygagging,
boiling lobsters. But today the coastline
is boatfree, under State Park and Rec. rules.

A noontime high of eighty three.
Front page, the biggest bass ever snagged
from Rudd Pond. Frogs sporting

three legs, heads ass-backwards, elbows fused,
wide-eyed as a blunt-trauma victim or
New Haven’s youngest chopper-pilot, Daisy.

A withered surfer waxes streetwise
staring at his water glass—
oblivious to his friend crooning Elvis

intermittently. ‘Tourette’s is not
a terminal deal,’ he cries, and ‘Eli, Eli,
you don’t know how much I loved her.’

Says old Doc Halloran from Castle Rock,
‘Here is no place for youth . . . Town’s gone to hell.’
Ten pounds of pot, stalks, roots, rocks, soil; all told

a couple of highschool teachers
moved here six months ago are now
sweating out twenty years.

‘Excuse me,’ I say. ‘Waitress? What’s The Tourist?’
‘Come on, Eli,’ she cries. ‘Do I really
have to say it? --A Tempeh Cacciatore.

Plenty of carbs. High protein. It’s non-dairy.
More a salsa than Italian sauce,
served on a bed of quinoa-spelt linguini.

All the ingredients grown locally.
Tell me you don’t know this, Eli, you’re the boss.’



About the Author

Christian Peet (b.1973) is a Bennington graduate, winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a semester away from a Goddard MFA. Thus he has worked as a dishwasher/prepcook, carpenter's apprentice, sheetmetal fabricator, hired hand on a goat farm, maintenance man, landscaper, and convenience store clerk. His screenplay for the short film Jack & Cat was just produced by 257 Films. Recent poems appear in Coelacanth, Eclectica, Burning Word, The Adirondack Review and are forthcoming in SFSU's Fourteen Hills. Christian lives in Nooksack, Washington and can be reached at ranchproductions@hotmail.com