Jan 11

Loose Change: Meredith Alling & Dee Riley

Let God

Meredith Alling

Why did I throw the chair? I placed my hand on the hot burner, but I could not stick with it. I pulled back and it was bad. I held it up to the light. I let it throb in the light. I admired it as long as I could, trying to understand.

Later I went out to dinner, my hand bandaged. “Oh fuck,” multiple people said. The bandage was big, dramatic maybe. A woman I didn’t know ordered appetizers for the table and smelled and tasted the wine and said it was OK to drink, and after, gave me a lot of sympathy about the bandage.

Back at home I found that the neighbor boy had dug another hole in my yard with my shovel, and then taken the shovel. Psycho move. I saw it leaning against their back porch. I tore the bandage off and gave the wound a mean look, and then I felt sad for myself, and then mean again.

I rebandaged before making tea in the “Let Go, Let God” mug. I did the water in the microwave. I lied down in bed with my head propped up and hovered the mug over my chest and sipped from it. “Oh you idiot,” I said when I spilled some on my shirt, and it was hot, and it scared me.

I logged onto the chat room. “Yo,” I typed. The retired nurse who went at her ex-husband’s windows with a crowbar was there, and so was the veteran who recently moved apartments to get away from the red neon light on the bar sign across the street. There was also the woman who wanted everyone to acknowledge her stuffed animals as animate. They were all talking about new movies. I positioned the computer next to me in bed and watched the text scroll. The veteran typed “Are you still there?” I typed “Yeah just watching right now.” They all typed “OK” except for the retired nurse who typed “OK hun.”

When I woke up the next morning the wound felt worse. I went to the bathroom and unwrapped the bandage and it looked worse. I looked at my eyes in the mirror. I held my hand under the sink and it felt like something was living in my palm, something that just ran a few miles.

I went back to bed and ignored a phone call from a friend. I stared at the ceiling. I’ve let this one abandoned cobweb go on. It collects dust now and hangs gray like a pigeon feather.

When I dropped my eyes to the window I got the feeling again—something building up inside. Maybe I’d chuck my phone or rip the sheets or bang my head. I tried to think about my landlord telling the delivery man from Home Depot that he doesn’t have a wife when he does have a wife, and why did I burn my hand?


MEREDITH ALLING is a writer based in Los Angeles. Her debut collection of short stories, SING THE SONG, is out now from Future Tense Books (futuretensebooks.com). Her website is meredithalling.com.

DEE RILEY is a cartoonist from Lancaster, PA that rarely cartoons. More of his work can be found at http://cargocollective.com/driley

About The Author

Tyler Barton is co-founder of FEAR NO LIT, a fiction editor for Blue Earth Review, an intern for Sundress Publications, a radio host for Weekly Reader, and a blogger for The Rumpus. His fiction has appeared in Monkeybicycle, NANO Fiction, Midwestern Gothic, Little Fiction, and elsewhere. Find his work at tsbarton.com. Find his jokes at @goftyler.