Two Fictions
Matthew Dexter

The Fall

Later, after the neighbor's funeral, we wondered about everything that fell from the sky, when we walked along the water's edge during the deepest pink of sunset and strange seabirds were digging their eggs into sandcastles built by the hands of tourists, when we made love beneath the dock. Anyplace was better than home. Male cicadas were releasing mating calls and their female counterparts were scraping their wings from grassy dunes already covered in darkness.
The smell of hashish and fresh fish were spit into the last crimson stroke of sunset. The heart attack that took the hero, how he didn't die from the fall; a log being pulled out to sea as his ashes were soaked for the last moment, not by the bottle of wine spilt on the bus ride over, but by the omnipresent cauldron of the roaring ocean. Landed on his head and stood up, he was alright, died from his heart a minute later.
Our neighbor would knock on the door because he locked his keys in his apartment. He would jump between balconies, three stories above the grass. We would wonder what he had come for: to spy, see what we really looked like on the inside, the smell of debauchery.
"Is this madness or normalcy?" we would ask ourselves.
All the glory was driftwood beneath a pier, rusted fragments of rotting time, and jagged pieces of yesteryear that floated out to sea, only to be borne back by the paternal push of the current.
"Is vertigo not a deterrent?" I asked.
One misstep: that's all it would take for miserable fate to fly over the ledge, a sadistic pigeon of reckoning. What is worse: blindness or being deaf? We listened to his excuse without judgment.
"Sorry, I locked my key," he would said.
His words drifted like yellow tomorrows against the bark swept from palm trees destroyed by hurricanes. Tourists rage like forest fires beneath the fronds, their beer cans float between us as we hold the pier and everything, seagulls trapped in the plastic of eight packs, the years and distances in-between, seem so near as they trickle into our salt and tears. The birds look down on us, motionless, as the crowd gathers on the beach to listen to the sounds of how we deal with death in our apartment complex.

Somali Drought

Painted fingernail dropped off by a butterfly, wrinkled cobwebs with patterns of the lines on Grandma's face, the circus swallows the onion that rabbits will not eat, the tomatoes grow so ripe they explode, as the clown makes love against the sleeping elephant, the fortune-teller cleans her watch.