SmokeLong Quarterly

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Story by Robin Slick (Read author interview) October 15, 2004

I’m at the company picnic and my lover Jack from the legal department enters the pie eating contest. I lean up against a tree, smoking a cigarette, watching his wife and kids. The kids are hopping up and down in burlap sacks because they’ve just finished a race and those two little weirdos don’t want to relinquish the bags even though Large Marge from the graphics department is busy trying to wrangle them away because they’re hers and I wonder if she practices jumping in them throughout the year in case there’s ever an adult version of this game or to offset all the food she puts away and I sneak another look at Jack’s wife, and she’s wearing a pastel blouse with a Peter Pan collar tucked into khaki shorts and I smirk to myself Who the hell dresses like that anymore—we live in the city for Christ sake and she has clumps of cellulite on the backs of her thighs and a pot belly from having the kids, but yeah, okay, she’s pretty and she’s clapping and cheering Jack on when the CEO of our company, who we only see twice a year—at this picnic and at Christmas when he hands out those bonus checks, which I swear he grips viselike so we have to pry them from his grasp—says Ready, Set, Go, and Jack and the other participants put their hands behind their backs and dive head first into the pies and I like how Jack looks this way and will definitely incorporate it into our next playtime; then he brings his head back up and he has cherry pie all over his face like a little boy, a ring of it around his mouth and hanging from his nose and his wife is still clapping and cheering and just as I’m thinking how cute and endearing he is, he looks right at her and not at me with a big corny grin and I whisper Choke you bastard, Choke, and then as if God or some other evil higher power hears me, he does, he starts sputtering and gasping and flailing his arms and it’s obvious that something–-maybe a cherry pit-–is lodged in his windpipe and his pretty plump wife starts screaming and his weird kids are still hopping and Large Marge springs into action and does the Heimlich maneuver and cherries and bile and who knows what else go flying from his mouth and jet stream right onto the pastel blouse with the Peter Pan collar of his pretty, plump wife and we all stare in fascination as a large red stain spreads between her pretty, plump breasts and it looks like she’s been shot in the heart and I can’t help but think to myself Now you know how it feels, baby.

About the Author

Robin Slick lives in downtown Philadelphia. When she’s not writing and working and editing for NFG and Philadelphia Stories, she travels around the world as official groupie mom following her rock star kids. For more information and to read other stories please visit her website at www.robinslick.com.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

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

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