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Texas Vs. London

Story by Jon Steinhagen (Read author interview) September 25, 2012

art by Gay Degani

Rilling is Thirty Six hours without sleep and leaving the theater and thinking This is The Strand. Thinking I am young and I will kick jet lag’s ass. Don’t go to sleep right away when you get there someone told him and he remembered. Thinking now Feel all this history this is The Strand and I just saw a play with a naked person in it a naked man but anyway there was nakedity and it was nothing like Blue Man Group.

Rilling feeling a heavy shawl of fatigue walking across the night-draped pigeonness of Trafalgar Square thinking There’s not a straight street in this city. Rilling thinking he shouldn’t have worn his boots. Rilling knowing he can turn in soon and thinking Did Shakespeare walk here. He can’t remember his dinner. A boiled something. Thinking This is me this is my trip just me eight days no plans just get off the plane at the start get back on the plane eight days later I’m twenty-three and I’m hungry.

Rilling passing a purple glowing thumping discothèque and he is lost.

Rilling a moment of wet fear stamping it down he can always hail a taxi. Smelling something fried. Keeping walking.

Two girls sensed probably leaving the discothèque and seeing Rilling. Tight miniskirts fringe shoulderbags lots of hairspray. Rilling meant to hear them.

How tall.

Look at the lovely boots.

So clean cut.

Gotta keep up with them legs.

Rilling red rom his neck to his hair thinking does he turn around for a sudden new direction and sink further into lost escaping the girls. He knows the name of his hotel. Does he stop and say something to his pursuers.

Go on Lorna ask him how’s the weather up there.

Rilling thinking This would be a story for home when he got back a story of how he bedded two British girls in his tiny hotel room so tiny he will have to sleep diagonally if he ever finds it again. This would be a story all he has to do is stop and turn and talk and play it cool and maybe even go heavy on his twang and they will love him and he just saw a play with a naked penis in it and everybody was laughing and he has already forgotten the story.

Rilling thinking I could also kill these girls and get away with it.

Rilling thinking How did that get into my head.

Rilling turning.

About the Author

Jon Steinhagen is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists ; his new play, “Successors,” will open in January at Signal Ensemble Theatre . His short fiction has recently appeared in Lantern Journal and Monkeybicycle.

About the Artist

Gay Degani has been nominated here and there for Pushcart consideration, Best Small Fictions, and a few various and sundry honors including the 11th Glass Woman Prize. She is the author of a full-length collection of short stories, Rattle of Want (Pure Slush Press, 2015) and a suspense novel, What Came Before (Truth Serum Press, 2016). Her micro “Abbreviated Glossary” appears in the anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fictionedited by James Thomas and Robert Scotellaro. She occasionally blogs at Words in Placeand is currently working on another novel of suspense.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-Seven of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Seven

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