SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page


Story by Steven Douglas Gullion (Read author interview) September 29, 2009

art by Robinson Accola

Grendel found some slacks he liked at Kohl’s, so he bought a half dozen pair. All pastels—robin’s egg blue, butter yellow, blush pink, etc. They looked good with a simple mock-T and the woven-topped loafers he’d picked up at a twofer sale at DSW. This became his uniform that summer, and he wore it everywhere: attending an art installation in the park, terrorizing villagers, cruising the lake on his Ski-Doo.

He was mulching the roses one day, in slacks that were a particularly bloodless shade of pistachio, when a mole stuck its head out of the ground. He’d had a lot of trouble with moles and their tunnels, so when this one showed itself Grendel snatched it up between his thumb and forefinger with a zesty “Hell, yeah!”

The mole looked like a fetus, and he thought about eating it. Blind little booger, screwing up his lawn. That made him think of the Saxons, other interlopers, and how their limbs had tasted in the middle of the night. Sometimes, when he allowed himself to be melancholy, he would wonder how life might have turned out had he been friendlier, more outgoing, instead of slaughtering everyone he met. But, at the end of the day, he preferred solitude. He was a non-joiner. That’s just the way he was.

He carried the mole inside and found an empty Easter basket, still full of artificial grass and the empty halves of plastic eggs. He put the mole in the basket and sat down at the breakfast table with a cup of decaf. He watched the mole sniff around in the basket, making a nest in the plastic shreds. He sipped the coffee and slipped his loafers off. He rubbed one foot against another. He wished he had X-ray vision, so he could look deep inside the mole and see its organs. Scan its tiny soul for lumps.

About the Author

Steven Gullion’s other fiction has appeared in Night Train Magazine, The Barcelona Review, The Adirondack Review, and issues 5, 21 and 22 of SmokeLong Quarterly, among others. He is currently working on a novel about an armadillo.

About the Artist

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Six

Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Book Now!

Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

The Community Workshop in small groups
One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).
One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)
Discounts on intensive workshops
Discounts on senior editor feedback
Surprises (good ones)