by Steven Douglas Gullion
Dozens of jellyfish lay collapsed in the sand, rubbery and thick. I thought they’d be like silk, like fog, like soap bubbles, but they lay on the beach like the sweaty Halloween masks of dead politicians, translucent, suffocating, and plump.
We saw half a fish washed up, its corpse as big as my eight-year-old daughter, its scales red and yellow, its fins rimmed in charcoal. Its head was gone, cut away in the V-shape of a shark’s bite.
I followed her out along a jetty of granite blocks, past the sign that said, “Proceed At Your Own Risk, Not Designed For Public Access.” Any slip could spill her into the green water, into the riptide. “Careful,” I yelled. She hopped from one stone to the other, too near the mossy edge.
We retraced our steps to the beach, and she ran through the surf in her yellow bathing suit with its red straps, the waves crashing around her knees. “Come here right now,” I yelled. “And watch out, there’s broken glass everywhere.”
She looked at me hard, her lip pulled back, her fingers knotted into tiny fists. “Jeez, you worry about everything.”
I looked out at the endless green gulf and back at the graffiti-covered seawall. Yes, I thought, I do.
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2013 by its authors.
Steven Gullion's other fiction has appeared in Night Train, Adirondack Review, Pindeldyboz, Inkblots, and Surgery of Modern Warfare, among others. His story "Stray Dogs," which appeared in Night Train, won the 2003 Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest.
Read the interview.
|Issue Five (August 15, 2004): Lovers by Karen Simpson Nikakis «» Shore by Susan Henderson «» Lovechild by Ellen Parker «» Lipstick by Claudia Smith «» Back Home by Bob Arter «» Gloves by Gary Cadwallader «» Gilda by Patricia Parkinson «» Attic by Kim Chinquee «» The Radioactive Chicken or the Egg? by Randall Brown «» Summer Swim by Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Two Benches by Pasha Malla «» Fall by Richard Hulse «» Drop by Roy Kesey «» Galveston by Steven Gullion «» Every Pane of Weathered Glass by Ellen M. Rhudy «» I Can't Talk About Butter Because Margarine Is All I Know by C.R. Park «» Something of Value by Brian Reynolds «» The Therapist Told Her Not to Stop Smoking–Right Now by Astrid Schott «» Maintenance by Miriam N. Kotzin «» Enough by Katrina Denza «» Interviews: Karen Simpson Nikakis «» Susan Henderson «» Ellen Parker «» Claudia Smith «» Bob Arter «» Gary Cadwallader «» Patricia Parkinson «» Kim Chinquee «» Randall Brown «» Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Pasha Malla «» Richard Hulse «» Roy Kesey «» Steven Gullion «» Ellen M. Rhudy «» C.R. Park «» Brian Reynolds «» Astrid Schott «» Miriam N. Kotzin «» Katrina Denza «» Cover Art "A Character in Short Fiction" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor|