Short Story

by Teri Louise Kelly

The poker had been in the fire for about six hours. I know, I'd put it there originally just in case. Then I'd got ratted on homebrand whisky from the warehouse, shipped in straight from Russia with love via the Baltic ferry. That stuff tasted like potatoes, only worse.
She drew the poker out of the fire like a Czech dentist draws a tooth, embers went everywhere, I could see she was holding a virtually unbeatable hand. I watched her whirling it around, enflamed, engorged, eruptive, and the poker looked hot too. Finally, after a shower of sparks had almost caused me to recreate Jacko's Pepsi commercial fiasco, my patience broke: 'Christ,' I told her, 'be careful with that fucking thing, Lena.'
That wasn't even her name, she was paperless, I'd met her at the 7STAR-club a few years earlier when she was wearing her grandad's wedding suit and dancing to Lena Lovich. 'Fuck you!' she spat, a mixture of spittle and sparks shot threw the air, 'I hate you and your mother!'
'Woah up there, ' I replied calmly, 'me I can appreciate, lots of folks take that line, but my mother? Fuck, what the hell's she ever done to you?'
'She birthed you, didn't she motherfucker?' she sneered.
'Maybe, maybe not,' I countered, 'there's always been innuendo.'
'Don't try big words on me baby.' she fired back.
'Big words like what?'
'And anyhow, didn't your mother run off with a Dutch marine?'
'There aren't any Dutch marines. The Dutch have never fought anything but water honey.'
'Oh, you think you're so clever, eh?'
I left it there. No point wrestling an alligator just for kicks. She twirled a while, pointlessly, then stopped suddenly and went: 'Ha!'
She was going Chinese on me.
'Look, why not put the poker down honey, okay?'
Yes, or what . . . the whole Ian Curtis thing hung heavy in the air, like the smell of boiling Brussels sprouts, or are they fucking Brussel sprouts? Anyhow, she was originally a Belgian, still was most likely, but, then again, the EU had already pretty much extinguished nationality, but not alas, national character. Now we were all one big happy family. I studied her, she had more curves than the F1 circuit in Monte Carlo, damn shame her mind was degenerating. I reached behind the chair for the cleaver, the one we'd used earlier on the goose, which hadn't even been ours but had simply chosen the wrong fucking place for a pit stop. Just as I was about to attempt one final attempt at cajoling, the door crashed open - well, half of the stable door design crashed open - the bottom half. A midget, Joey Ramone, stood there, wearing pink fatigues, carrying an Edam cheese under one small arm.
'What the fuck?' I said to no one and everyone simultaneously.
She froze, frigid, timid, rigid. I saw my chance to get the poker, made a move forward, no more than a stretch of a tendon, and the midget shouted 'Hey!' and for a moment, I thought I was in Kiev at Eurovision. 'Fuck you buddy,' I said, only it had come out 'Suck you muddy'. More Eurovision gibberish. He dropped to one knee, still holding the cheese, he'd only had to drop about ten inches, hardly a fall at all. Then, he held out the cheese with both little hands, and looking directly at her, had said: 'Marry me angel.'
Well, this is a turn up, I thought, as I watched her watching him. It was hard to say whether she was disgusted or intrigued, years of Belgian life had eroded her facial expressions down to the minimum. Then she hurled the poker at him. It sailed high over his head and went straight through the window. 'Dutch marines,' I sighed.
They were still facing each other, expressionless and motionless, encapsulated in a moment that could adorn any chocolate box lid. I walked to the door, bent under the still bolted top half, and then calmy walked off into the night. There would be a bus sometime soon, to Moldova, Andalusia, Gibralter, Vatican City, San Marino, Monaco, maybe even Holland, who knew... There were no more borders, no more shots and passports required simply to travel ten miles, the times were moving fast, a whole new continent awash with interbreeding, cheese and vendettas, a good place to be, regardless of what Waugh had once written. We were all Europeans now, and our army consisted of mop-topped midgets in pink fatigues, and why not? A few miles along the track, I passed what looked like a church, the sign outside read, in four languages: Suicide, Think About It Before, Not After! Good advice. Western advice. I never saw another midget wearing pink fatigues, but in Bratislava I did see one slathered in canola oil wrestling a pig. A whole new Europe.
I never did work out why the midget was proposing with a ball of Edam cheese either, but fuck, I guess some girls had accepted way less in the way of inducement . . .

About the Author:

Born in London and now living in Adelaide, Australia. Teri Louise Kelly
is the author of Sex, Knives & Bouillabaisse (March 2008, Boomerang
Books) and Last Bed On Earth (April 2009, Boomerang Books). She is
a short story competition winner, and her first volume of poetry is due
for release in Feb 2010.

© 2009 Moronic Ox Literary Journal - Escape Media Publishers / Open Books
Teri Louise Kelly
ISBN:  9781862548220
Format: Paperback Book
Number of pages: 272
Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publish Date: 24/04/2009
ISBN:  9781862547568
Format: Paperback Book
Publisher: Wakefield Press
January 2010!

A new novel by
Teri Louise Kelly

author of
'Last Bed On Earth'
'Sex, Knives & Bouillabaisse'


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