May Flowers – a Bouquet

Have some more flowers, my peoples.

Make it Snappy

I sat in a haze of a half dozen cigarettes when she walked in, Violeta Magenta, six foot two in stiletto heels.  I could tell she was packing heat, but nothing could rouse me from the toxic torpor of that hangover.  Why did I live like that?  The only thing that could animate my sorry carcass was danger, and she wasn’t it.  Not yet at least.

She said, “Clive Cleaver,” through violet-smeared lips, “I thought I was coming to see a private dick, but all I see is a puddle of swamp water.  Should I take these hundred dollar bills across the alley to Navy Davey?  I hear he’s got a lot of pep in his step.”  No, I said.  I’ll take your money.  She said, “Find out where the thieves fenced my amethyst and diamond piece, and get it back.  Make it snappy.”  For a few lousy sawbucks? I asked.  “I’ll make it worth your while.  If you make it snappy.”

As it happened I did have a line on her jewels, and I could turn this around in no time.  I said yes ma’am and pulled on my shoulder holster to make it look like serious business.  But the only danger I was in came from that kooky dame.  Ya see, I was the one who snatched her necklace, with the help of Dissolute Capriccio.  We’d been working Violeta’s scene for months, and grabbed the goods during one of her famous trysts in the Donkey Room.

Me and Dissolute, we knew there was nowhere in town to offload rocks that hot, so selling back to Miss Magenta was always the plan.  Could I talk her up to six hundred?  She always loved purple.  I’d call her from my partner’s spot with some cock and bull about complications and extenuating circumstances.  Not a problem.

It was a whopping six blocks I had to walk.  Just to make it look like I was going through some stress, I killed a bit of time at Louie’s.  The Funny Girls were playing darts for dope.  Got so clumsy they sunk one in the meat of my right hand.  I resolved to get a tetanus shot with the payoff from Violeta, and kept on.

At Dissolute’s nobody was answering the door.  Had that rat found a fence with deep pockets somewhere in our petty little burg?  Not a chance, but maybe he was at the bus station for Chi-town.  I took the fire escape up to his broken window, peeled back the tarpaulin, and went in.  It was a bright day and the light through his curtains was this intense purple, bright like something alive but dull like something dead.  I couldn’t see jack until she turned on the lamp, already pointing a pearl-handled derringer at my grill-piece.

“Took your sweet time, Clive.  I specifically asked you to make it snappy.”  Where’s Dissolute? I asked.  “Pass me the roscoe, buddy.  No false moves now.”  Where’s Dissolute? I reiterated through clenched teeth.  “Clive, the roscoe, or this conversation is over now.”  I gave up my heater, but what did I really have to lose?  I just didn’t have to vim to put up a fight.  You were wearing them when you came to my office this morning, I said.  She opened her jacket with one hand, the necklace sparkled in the lamplight.

Violeta had asked me to make it quick, but I knew she was about to take her sweet time with me.  Better luck in the next life.


Horse girls are the wildest.  Get a girl interested in horses and you never know where it’s gonna stop.  Drawings in the margins of all her homework?  Posters?  Insisting the parents get one, rent a stable, take her riding all the time?  Get with other horse girls and discuss the horse tea?  Look up in silence at the approach of human boys, unwilling to let slip their horse secrets?

Horse girls, I’ve seen ’em in school, in the fields behind the school.  I’ve seen ’em strap on the feedbag, or gather around a salt lick, or take an apple from a stranger.  I’ve seen their nostrils flare to the size of silver dollars, their manes growing down the backs of their necks.  I’ve seen the hooved legs come down out of their dresses when they don’t think anybody’s looking.

One time I fell in love with a horse girl.  Goddamn that was foolish.  But there she was, long brown hair and big brown eyes, always made me think of that Van Morrison tune.  By degrees I got her used to my presence, you know, standing around and not doin’ nothin’ when she horsed out.  No eye contact, but gradually gettin’ closer and closer, where I sat on lunch break.

We were out on the football field.  Nobody went there on lunch ‘cept to get away from anybody else.  Some kids were smoking, some were making time.  I was getting as close to Clarabel as she would allow.  The legs came down, but she didn’t pay me no mind, and I thought Yes, she knows that I know, and she isn’t afraid of me anymore.  I approached her with an apple in hand and a hopeful expression on my face, still careful to look more at the nape of her beautiful neck than through the portal of those long thick eyelashes.

But it was all for naught.  She caught wind of my intentions and was havin’ none of it.  Sprouted a dozen horse legs right down the middle, top to bottom of her body, radial formation like the bauplan of a sand dollar or a sea urchin.  One of the damn things came right out of her mouth and stretched her face out to so many rubber bands around the base of it.  I about lost my lunch and my heart.  She just cartwheeled away like that, down the fifty yard line, up the bleachers, and out into the farmland beyond.

Horse girls are wild, but don’t you dare fall in love with one.  Far as I know, she’s still rolling to this day.


What is that shining in the claws of a bird?
A six-pack of beer?  No, don’t be absurd.
Ah, I see now – a struggling fish,
Shimmering, glittering, must be delish.
Or maybe it tastes like some salty chunk meat,
Bloody and raw, not exactly a treat,
Which tells us not all that shines is a prize.
What more silver creatures bedevil the eyes?
Tentaculate beasts and chitinous ghouls,
Translucent fangs exude strings of drool.
Scaly and flaky but covered with snot,
Metallic in sheen more often than not.
Flashes of light like a shiny new dime,
A veneer for creeps suffused with the brine.
I once saw a silverfish the size of my thumb,
Jumped out of my skin and then went for my gun.
Nickel-plated semi-auto nines I did blast,
In hopes to annihilate the creepy-assed.
I didn’t quite hit the mark, not off by a mile,
But boy did I fuck up my poor bathroom tile.
So heed the warning that I now try to give,
Allow the gleaming and slimy to live.
Go ahead, judge all these books by their covers,
But don’t leave them bait in your basins and cupboards.
Keep a clean ship to sway detritivores,
And you won’t be tempted to destroy your floors.
Quoth the earwig, Nevermore.


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