SmokeLong Quarterly

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Story by Claire Rudy Foster (Read author interview) June 24, 2014

art by Taro Taylor

Our parents all think we’re losers. We’re not good enough for them but we’re good enough for each other. The music is too loud and we are packed tighter than canned tuna, shoulder against shoulder. Heads moving more or less in rhythm like we’re agreeing. Yes, we are the fuck-ups. Yes, we’ll disappoint you. We did it wrong. We win at making better mistakes.

Some of us look like punks and some don’t but we’re all wearing the costume of belonging. We don’t go to church, you know. This is our church and it’s loud, loud, loud. There is the voice of God in the bass reverb and the lyrics’ rising incantation. We are already dead, they say. The world has forgotten us in its shame. We forget ourselves. We don’t distinguish between wrong and right, we do what is real.

The singer has a voice like fighting tigers. He raises his beer can over the crowd of leering faces and our arms reach up to engulf him. Dismember him. Eat and take him for our own. We eat our young, and we are all young. We’re hopeless. What happens? Go to school, get some debt and a silly job. We might get married. What is it for, we wonder? We wear work boots to the office and leave the safety pins in our ears. We grow old gracelessly and we will teach our children to argue with anyone, even us, even God. Kill your idols, we will say, even as our hearts ball up in our throats.

If Darwin was right, we are better than you. We are going to spawn and die and we’ll do it in a jugular splash of blood and love, soaking life’s sheets. The solo comes and we are a mass of fury. The fists we raise? That’s for you. We are knocking on your door.

About the Author

Claire Rudy Foster lives in Portland, Oregon. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing. Her critically recognized short fiction has appeared in various respected journals; she has been recognized by several small presses, including a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. She is afraid of sharks, zombies, and other imaginary monsters.

About the Artist

Taro Taylor is a web developer and photographer in Sydney, Australia.

This story appeared in Issue Forty-Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Four

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