5 Flashes

Tiffany and Loretta

Toto F. came home from work smelling of Freedom Fries and threw himself down on the other side of the couch. I was still waiting for my patient, my lover, Tiffany, to come back from scoring dope with Toto’s drummer, Eddie Toast, so I could kill Toast and take Tiffany back to our ward. The image of that bare, cum-stained mattress was still with me.
You waiting on the madwoman? Toto asked
I gave him stink-eye.
You act the part of a shrink, but you’re a madman. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. Just sayin.’
I went in the kitchen and rummaged around, made myself a PB&J, one for him too.
Toto took a bite. You gotta let people work their own karma. You can’t just lean in like a shade-tree mechanic, spray ‘em with WD-40, and re-torque their internal combustion with your giant fucking wrenches, you know what I mean?
Yeah, let madness and misery rule!
Always has, man, and always will.
Let the rapers and murderers have their way with her. Let the highway wrap itself around her like a boa constrictor.
I look at the world and I notice it’s turning, Toto gulped a mad wad of PB&J, while my guitar gently weeps.
Toto you’re a fucking jukebox.
Toto leaned forward. I think I hear Eddie Toast’s car.

Tiffany had a rival, Loretta Goates. Loretta once escaped from the hospital and assaulted the clerk at Hightower Pharmacy, threw all the cheap lipsticks on the floor, because she was jealous of Tiffany, because Tiffany was having an affair with me. Loretta was also in love with me, but I despised her because of her chronic ugly sneer and her penchant for assaulting ward staff and other patients.
Loretta Goates was once the daughter of Burt the Bruiser, the nineteen-fifties’ wrestler, Andre the Giant’s secret lover (neither ever came out of the closet). Andre, a Frenchman, surprisingly cultured, was the only one who could dominate Burt the Bruiser, make him a Submissive, not in the ring, but in the giant round bed Andre had had custom made.
When Burt the Bruiser was in the hospital dying, he didn’t know that his nurse was the daughter of Cowboy Bob Ellis, his chief rival in the ring, who taunted him and insulted him nonstop, much more than was needed for the drama of the Detroit Olympia, known as “the Old Red Barn.” Alice Dougherty (her married name) looked down on Burt in the grimy charity ward bed, shriveled and jaundiced and, like her dad, mocked him: What a bruiser you are! A toddler could take you now, but then she was ashamed, and went to church to confess.
But she had left her post without permission and, when she returned to the hospital, the head nurse fired her, despite her protests and tears.

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author
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and. was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To read more of his work, Google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.
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