SmokeLong Quarterly

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The Village with All of the Boyfriends

Story by Zachary Doss (Read author interview) April 1, 2018

art by Dani Croitor

Editor’s note: Zach Doss, you are missed.


The Village with All of the Boyfriends is where all of your boyfriends wind up eventually. You built this Village for them and they can’t leave and neither can you. You are not allowed inside, but you wait in the desert at the edge of town, you pace, sometimes you stomp a sleeping leg until it wakes up, sometimes you sit cross-legged in the dust. You spit and the ground soaks it up.

You try not to watch the boyfriends but you watch them.

The boyfriends ride motorcycles. They go to the beach and eat hot dogs with mustard and drink diet soda. The boyfriends learn to solve mysteries from TV. Some of them write poems and some of them post their political writings on blogs. They laugh easily. They get drunk and kiss. They go to the gym, spin class, yoga, water aerobics, ballet. They write long letters to their mothers, who like you even less now.

The Village is overflowing with boyfriends. There are boyfriends on every street, in every house, boyfriends crowding the General Store and gossiping in line at the Bank and behind the counter at the Laundromat. Boyfriends serve meals to other boyfriends packed into tiny booths at the Taqueria.

Boyfriends sleep two and three to a bed, dozens on the floors, on the kitchen table, on the couch, on the bathroom counter, squeezed into the tub. Every day it seems like there’s a new boyfriend and he has to sleep on a windowsill or in an empty hutch.

Boyfriends perch on the power lines and boyfriends sit on every inch of every rooftop. On a nice day, their blonde hair catches the sunlight and it looks like every roof is shingled with gold. On rainy days, their hair darkens and their white shirts cling to their backs and chests.

The roofs have begun to sag with the weight of the boyfriends, the support beams crack, wood floors have started to buckle. The damage caused by the boyfriends is structural. The buildings slump to the ground. Everywhere the boyfriends are too much weight pressing down on the houses, the General Store, the Bank, the Laundromat, the Taqueria. Out on the edge of town you are bow-legged with the strain of it.

You are waiting for a foundation to crack.

About the Author

Zachary Doss’s work appears in Sonora Review, Fourteen Hills, Fairy Tale Review, Caketrain, DIAGRAM, Paper Darts, and other journals. His short story “Bespoke” was the winner of the 2016 Puerto del Sol Short Fiction Contest.

About the Artist

Image by Dani Croiter used via Flickr Creative Commons.

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

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