Tag Archive: deal

Extispicy by Chris Deal

Patiently he sits in the shade outside on the café’s patio, watching as the world moves slowly by, ugly men with beautiful women, obnoxious kids chattering about white noise. 

He imagines the smoke of his cigar holds his future, like the reading of tealeaves or entrails, bloody and steaming in a golden chalice.  A curve that seems to be a hip, feminine, shifts down on the currents, and he can only think that he’ll be in the ether before long.

A man at a neighboring table discusses the failing strength of his erections of late.

One moment, the protagonist’s mind is calm, smooth, and then there’s a turbulence and all he wants is a proper fucking drink, something more alcohol than water, and then there is a scratching behind his eyes, the call to a spot of mindless violence and he wants to smash the waiter’s face with a brick.  He can’t help but wonder what the man’s guts would prophesize, if they would have foreseen the fall of Rome or a need to increase his insurance premiums.

He stubs out the smoke and leaves a decent tip for the coffee that he didn’t even finish.  Twenty five steps from his table is a bar, and he hopes to God the bartender knows how to pour a decent bourbon.The ether would have to wait.

No Dominion by Chris Deal

Above us was the dominion of gods and the ancient ones, the stars burning in the memory of the universe. In the cold desert night, the vastness of the primordial vista was enough to make you cry at how small you’d forgot you really are.  The ground was still cooling from the day’s hate.  We were surrounded by a mirage and I couldn’t tell the earth from the sky. 

Mark laughed from the driver seat as he kept trying to crank the engine.  “It’s flooded,” I said.

“Don’t you think I know that?”  He drummed an intricate beat on the steering wheel, Coltrane or Sun Ra or something more base, tribal.

“We’ve got a bit of a head start.  Doubt they even know which direction we took.”  I dug my fingernails into the tender skin of my thigh to keep my eyes from the looming heavens but nothing could keep it away.

“I don’t want to sit here and wait.”

“Well, then, what’re our options?” I closed my eyes but the sky was still there.

He pointed to the horizon.  We took our packs and our guns from the car and stepped into the desert, the domain of no man.  Foot before foot, we went forward ever, looking for some sign, but out there were none.  We lost sight of the road after our second day’s walk.  We followed a dead creek in search of something to satisfy but even its source was decayed. 

When I ran out of cigarettes I took to chewing on my fingers and drank the dusty runoff.  Mark’s eyes couldn’t focus on anything but the sky and I kept mine to the ground.  He lay down and watched the drift of the celestials until he joined them, and I was alone.