Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

God’s Disco: i) Driving to God’s Disco

by Trent Walters

My friend is sad. He is driving us to a poetry reading. I have just shown him the glossy back-cover photo of the poet reading tonight. My friend holds his head in his hands and rubs his face. One would think driving in this posture would be difficult. Grabbing the steering wheel, I ask, what ails you, my friend?

I am sick and tired, he says, of being sick and tired behind the wheel of this vehicle.

I allow him to wallow in his misery in peace. People need peace with their misery. Like donuts need grease.

He cries dry tears. I know because he will lift his face, and it will be dry because I will do something he will not like that will cause his face to lift. His eyes will, however, be red from rubbing them with his palms. The only time he has ever cried wet tears was over Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. When the peaceful misery passes, I say, tell me what makes you so sad.

If you don’t know, I am not going to tell you.

I release the steering wheel. My hands cover my face. I say nothing. I need peace with my misery though misery gives no peace. Come here, I say; let me kiss and make it feel better. I gesture for his face.
He lifts his face. His eyes are red, his face is dry, and his elbow, apparently, does not like my gesture (nor does my gesture like his elbow). He says, we will not. We are men.

I forgot, I say rubbing my gesture; I only wished to comfort your misery.

Let us go, you and I, to a poetry-etherized reading.

Let us, I say, and afterwards we can gobble a steak dinner and salad at the casino buffet on the river. The food may not be good, but there is a lot of it, which is good for us manly men who don’t know what we want to eat.

Yum, he says.

Besides, I say, a river is the universal, unidirectional symbol for time because it can’t change directions–except in earthquakes. We will eat on a river of time until our guts explode. Like true artists: everything done in excess.

Thyme, he asks.

Exactly, I say.

My friend cuts across traffic, because we are late, heading the wrong way down a one-way on Dodge Street, which is poetic because the cars have to dodge us. We live art.

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