SmokeLong Quarterly

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When They Say Share the Road They Don’t Know What I’ve Already Given

Story by Dennis Scott Herbert (Read author interview) November 2, 2015

Art by Sean Knickerbocker

My most recent ex-lover’s dick fell off.

One day, just like that, he emerged from the shower in a cloud of steam, feet red from the hot water, and there was nothing left but a little nub.

“What the fuck is that,” I asked. “What am I supposed to do with that?”

“I don’t know,” he said, his palms turned up, shoulders tensed into a shrug. “It’s gone.”

“You ride your bike too much,” I said.

“Her name is Audriana.”

“You ride your bike too much,” I said again.

He shook his head. “I don’t need to listen to this.” He wrapped himself in a towel and walked down the hallway toward the bedroom, his wet steps slapping the hardwood floor. He turned. “I love my bike, I love Audriana.”

While he was in our room I could hear rummaging and drawers opening, closing.

He had packed his belongings back there and when he came out everything was stuffed into a book bag strapped to his rounded shoulders.

We stood in the middle of the living room and looked at each other. His green eyes flashed, the same eyes that made me feel lucky before, eyes that used to promise more, that promised a future. I glanced down at the place in his skinny jeans where a bulge used to be. He saw this and turned to leave.

I watched out the open door, cool air blowing in, as my ex-lover mounted a skinny ten-speed and rolled down the street all wheels and spokes and gears clicking into the night.

After he was gone I went out back to the small shed that our landlord said didn’t belong to him but that we could use it since it was empty and abandoned. I pulled down a chain switch to the lone bulb. It clicked on then buzzed, filling the garage with a soft, egg-yolk glow.

I took my bike off the rack and propped it against the wall. There was an extra seat attached to the back, meant for carrying babies or small children. I wasn’t expecting but I wanted to be expecting. I wanted to carry the load of a new life in me then in that plastic seat.

For the rest of the night I stayed out there and listened to the moths as they tried to get into the light. They smacked softly into the window pane, and I ran my hand along the curves of the plastic, the place where the baby’s butt cheeks would sit. I clicked the seatbelt buckle together, fastening in nothing, fastening in a space of air where I wished life could be.

About the Author

Dennis Scott Herbert is dangerous. He is a current MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he hosts the Writer’s Bloc Reading Series and serves as managing editor for the Blue Earth Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Profane, Hobart, Cardinal Sins, and Crack the Spine among others.

About the Artist

Sean Knickerbocker is a cartoonist and print-maker living in Minnesota

This story appeared in Issue Fifty of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty

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