Concise Prose. Enough Said.
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Copter Blades And Tangelo Slices

By Tomi Shaw

No way around it. You have to fall in love with a man who can serve Tangelo while coptering the friendly skies. Still makes me mad that I fell for it though. It was his hands, too hard and tan and used to figuring out buttons. His bad fortune was in never defining good buttons from bad.

Something we had in common.

He didn’t take me up much after getting down in my panties, literally down in them; he wore them. At first I thought it was exciting, exotic. Later, I thought it was a crack up. Later still, I thought it a complete bore. After that, I determined he was perv. Course that’s probably just meanness in me; I don’t care.

I knew the instant he dipped into strange waters. Tangelo tang as cologne, please. Takes a showering to remove all that juice. I knew it every time.

I tried to research ways to bring down a ‘copter without getting caught. Not an easy proposition. I gave up, but not before I’d done his best friend Pete, not in flight but in the copter. Pete wouldn’t take me up for some reason, but at least he whipped up the blades. Their beat set our rhythm, and I swear I smelled Tangelo.

Pete’s a rat.

“We take shit off anybody.” My uncle thought that the funniest way to promote his shit-hauling biz. I answered his phones and did his books. There’s lots of dough in shit. So in walks my old man, soured on Pete’s revelation, pops me a cool one in the mouth, fucks me, and struts back out. Not another mention of it.

Every time after that, when I got it in my head to jump someone’s bones, I remembered that lip, the penny taste of it, the way it smashed under my husband’s tanned hand as he pushed me against the wall and ripped my lacy panties off my hips.

No. I don’t repeat many mistakes.

This ain’t one of those he’ll-get-his stories, or she-found-her-power ones either. It’s not even a vindication or an exorcism. It just is what it is. I fell in love and so did he. Then we couldn’t figure how to fall out, even after we wanted to.

He’s dead now, heart attack. You’d think his wife—me—is grief crazy, watching her peel a Tangelo, placing the slices under his clothes, next to his cold skin. I know what I’m doing. The smell lingers.

Tomi Shaw's work has appeared in Absinthe Literary Review, Outsider Ink,
Pindeldyboz, Smokelong Quarterly, Snow Monkey, Penthouse, Literary Mama
and elsewhere. More is coming soon to The Barcelona Review, The Rose and Thorn, and The Dead Mule. Tomi has guest-edited for Francis Ford Coppola's All Story Extra and currently is co-editor of Prairie Dog 13 Magazine.

Top photo "Fruit" courtesy of Clara Natoli.
Bottom photo "Tangerine Segments" courtesy of Valentina Frate.

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