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Repair Man

Story by Kathy Fish (Read author interview) June 15, 2008

Art by Robinson Accola

Trey dreams in black and white of cogs and band saws, electrical circuits and wires. When he wakes up, he remembers he was once an old man. Trey is Mattie’s boyfriend. He works making repairs for the subway system. Mattie says his work clothes require industrial strength. He takes them to the Wife Saver Laundromat in the retail strip near Mattie’s apartment building. He’s studying to be a transportation engineer. He likes working underground, where it’s dark and cool, but the bills are piling up. Nights, Mattie reads and rereads the texts aloud for him, her feet propped on the kitchen table. She runs a yellow highlighter over the key points. After, they wrangle under the covers, the streetlight shining through the one, tiny window. Trey is conscientious, light with his fingers and his tongue. His hair falls over his eyes as he works her. Mattie will someday develop the habit of calling him Handsome Mole. Someday she’ll feed him cornflakes, offer him a lager. He’ll carry a backpack full of books to the Wife Saver, but he’ll never open them. He’ll die before she does, alone on an ice morning, walking past the subway to church.

–“Repair Man” was first published in Spork. It appears here by permission of the author.

About the Author

Kathy Fish teaches for the Mile High MFA at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She has published four collections of short fiction: a chapbook in the Rose Metal Press collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (2008); Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011); Together We Can Bury It (The Lit Pub, 2012); and Rift, co-authored with Robert Vaughan (Unknown Press, 2015). Three of her stories have been Best Small Fictions winners, most recently “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild,” chosen by Aimee Bender. Additionally, two of Fish’s stories will be featured in the upcoming W.W. Norton anthology, New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction.

About the Artist

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.

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

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