DARWINIAN // The Key is Under the Mat

So, I’m standing on her doorstep, trying to recall details of my dream from the night before.

Carl Sagan was in the dream. I remember that much. He was living in a cardboard box in Buckingham Palace, and was a high level warlock with no access whatsoever to the Queen. This depressed Carl Sagan, so he created a Twitch stream to play Portal 2 while reciting poetry. The stream was very popular. It made the Queen very jealous.

This is all I can remember as the door opens.

Calix looks pretty sleepy. Actually, I’d go so as far to say she looks quite sour too. Early mornings certainly don’t appear to agree with her. And one strap of her singlet is twisted. My eyes can’t focus on anything else. My brain is telling me to reach out and fix it. Of course, I resist. No one needs to be killed at such an ungodly hour.

She yawns and steps aside, waving me in. “Do you always visit people’s homes at the butt crack of dawn… whatsyaface?”

“Ezra,” I say helpfully. Because, you know, I was raised to be polite. Even when others were mangling my name. Which they did. A lot.

“Fizra?”

I gape at her for a moment, wondering how someone with such an odd name herself could be so cavalier with mine. I shrug this off.

“Erm, yes.” Curse my politeness.

Calix scratches her smooth underarm as I shuffle in, a suitcase under both of mine. She’s clearly goggling at the hugeness of said suitcases—almost in awe in fact. My stupid imagination quickly jumps to a conclusion it oughtn’t. She’s thinking that I’m an eligible bachelor of substantial means. Can’t wait for her to see the mountain of boxes I’ve got stacked on the kerb!

Anyway, the next moment kills all of that.

“Where the hell are you going to put all of that?” She points down the short hallway. “I don’t want any of your shit cluttering up the place, you hear?”

“I… I’m sorry!” I’m stammering now. “I can… I can just leave it out… outside?”

Calix scowls at me. I’m coming to an understanding that she’s the master of looks that humiliate and wither before swooping in for the kill. If I wasn’t such a sad excuse of a man, I’d be feeling emasculated right now. Thank heavens I’m not much of a man!

“No, you boob, just put it in your room. I don’t need to be tripping over your junk is all.”

She leads me to my room, poking her finger at different doors along the way, commenting on this and that with the tone of a hungover museum guide with a pathological hatred of visitors.

For my part, I’m carrying my suitcases with pathological ease. No way am I going to let this ill-mannered wench see me as some weedy, pathetic cookie pusher! I’m a man of freaking muscle!

“Toilet.” Yup. It’s a toilet. “I hope you’re a seat lifter when you’re doing a number one, otherwise I won’t be held responsible for what happens next.”

I want to ask if I can at least shit with the seat lowered—you know, to avoid putting my bare arse on the cold porcelain rim. It’s a sacred process, the shitting. Just saying. But I don’t say. I maintain a discreet silence. We keep walking. She keeps pointing.

“Kitchen.”

“Fascinating.”

Calix stops dead in her tracks. Fuck. Have I said that out loud? Panicked, I nearly drop my suitcases. But her voice suddenly softens. “Can you… errrmm… Fizra, yes? Can you cook?”

“Well, I’m not exactly Heston,” I respond nervously. “I’m not in the habit of serving up broiled harp seal snouts in exotic amphoras filled with Namibian pygmy batter or anything. But I get by.”

I’m ready for the worst, but for some reason well, Calix noticeably cheers up. The rest of our ‘sightseeing tour’ breezes quickly by, and is almost… friendly. As it turns out, there’s not a lot to show actually. Near a shabby white door, Calix slaps me on the shoulder and says, “Welcome home, Fizra!”

I cautiously push open the door and step inside.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

’til river do us part

a black river rolls its waters in state
past a dirty hut’s stoop and manor’s gate
a white nymphea on the satin river’s breast
eyes enthralled like a bride’s at a funeral fete

the young maiden stands on an old dam crest
folding a long wedding dress to her chest
a cold wind hugs her shoulders, her ideal mate
it whispers to her in feverous behest

a black river rolls its waters to the strait
aloof, indifferent, like the decrees of fate
the young maiden on the satin river’s breast
the hearse carries the bride to her wedding fete

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

Eugene (P.S.)

Hullo, dearest Writers and Readers,

It’s Tati. (Yeah, I’m still here and can speak too. Shocking news, isn’t it?)

Usually I prefer to stay backstage at Unbolt Me, hiding in my cozy, dark corner and letting Tony shine onstage to bask in the warmness of your love. But please, don’t think I’m indifferent to what happens here. I do care.

You can be sure that every day I open WP Admin with bated breath and fingers crossed. I bite my nails, in a state, wondering if you’ll love our newest post or hate it. I read every single comment. Do you still read and support us? Do you still want us here?

Well… Honestly, when I was writing Eugene I didn’t expect such great feedback. I thought it was just another story, just the next post on Unbolt Me. I was wrong.

Let me wholeheartedly thank all of you for every like, comment, and reblog. I felt your emotions and was truly moved by your sincere concern. That’s why I decided to write this post. I thought it would be churlish of me to keep you in the dark about this story. I decided to lift the curtain over Eugene and answer some of the questions that were brought up in the comments section.

Okay, so here we are…

Q: What I want to say to you I’m not sure you’d take well so I’m not saying it.

A: Hmmm… Why not, Crystal? Please, don’t hold it inside. I promise not to bite you.

Q: Great story, true, or not, or ‘based on’…

A: Dear Alli, this is a real story. I adorned it with some artistic details, but you can be sure that all characters and events are entirely true.

Q: You can’t leave us hanging like that! Did you meet him again?

A: Yes, Tanushka. I saw Eugene a couple of times after this. Once I saw how he walks. It really drags at the heartstrings. He’s so stripped to the bone, so weak. I doubt he can even stand without his crutches, not to mention walk.

Q: Did you ever speak to the man again?

A: Unfortunately no, Cher. I wanted to stop, but something prevented me every time. In the last few weeks Eugene hasn’t been sitting in his usual place—I think because it’s getting colder. I hope to meet him again.

Q: I hope Eugene keeps doing his embroidery for a long time.

A: Dear Kat and Ellie, I sincerely hope he will! He has a splendid talent.

Q: I’m sure Eugene is an inspiration for many people.

A: Katharine, I’m with you on this. At the very least, he inspired me to write this story. And it looks like it has inspired many people who have read this story. It makes me so happy!

Q: Maybe Eugene is a supernatural geezer as well.

A: I can bet, Artie, that he is!

P.S. The photo of Eugene in the original post was my own. I was a bit too shy to take it openly, even after we’d had a conversation. I stepped aside, pretended to look for something in my phone, and took some sneaky shots like a coward. Sorry, Eugene.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

100 WORD SKITTLE // Push-Up

The road was covered with tits.

I stopped and took another look. An endless strip, double bulged on one side and even on the other, stretched to the horizon like a runway. I imagined the disturbed artist who frenetically draws tits on roads. Then I imagined how he runs on that strip, dives off the last boob, and flies away into the sky.

I looked up in hope… and saw a row of utility poles that were casting this odd shadow. I felt disappointed. Another story without a happy end

I stepped onto the first boob and prepared to run.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017