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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Theories About Your Housebound Neighbor

Story by Jasmine Sawers (Read author interview) August 5, 2021

Photograph by Ryunosuke Kikuno

  1. He’s a werewolf—well, a wereYorkie. He is ashamed not to be more fearsome but he still needs all the extra garage space for his transformations.
  2. He hasn’t gotten out of his recliner in so long that his skin is actually fused to it via mold.
  3. He keeps promising the teenager who delivers his groceries that he’ll pay for her to go college at the Big Ten school of her choosing, but it’s always next semester, kid, wait til next semester. Wanna come in and watch TV?
  4. The visitor he gets late at night once a week in the rusty red Corvette is his nephew/stepson/old neighbor for whom he once offered sorely-needed kindness and whose sense of obligation is hardier than his sense of smell.
  5. The visitor he gets late at night once a week in the rusty red Corvette is the only rentboy in town, and he keeps raising his rates. As he should.
  6. The visitor he gets late at night once a week in the rusty red Corvette is blackmailing him for thousands of dollars a pop because he knows about what he keeps in his three garages.
  7. He’s the elusive Slade County Snatcher and needs all those garages for the taxidermied bodies of his victims.
  8. He has retired from snatching but not from having sexy tea parties with the rash of white women aged 18-32 who went missing in Slade County between 1966 and 1989.
  9. He only stopped because DNA evidence got better and he knew he’d been sloppy.
  10. He only stopped because his knees began to feel like blown glass was popping inside them when he knelt before the bathtub during his post-murder pre-taxidermy cleansing ritual.
  11. He only stopped because one of them looked him dispassionately in the eye while his hands convulsed around her neck, and she saw not a man but a vast, gnawing wind.

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This micro was a finalist in the 2021 SmokeLong Grand Micro Contest. 

About the Author

Jasmine Sawers is a Kundiman fellow and graduate of the MFA program at Indiana University. Sawers serves as Associate Fiction Editor for Fairy Tale Review and has work in such publications as Ploughshares, SmokeLong Quarterly, and The Offing. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Sawers now lives and pets dogs outside St. Louis.

About the Artist

Ryunosuke Kikuno is a photographer from Calgary, Canada.

This story appeared in Issue Seventy-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seventy-Two
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