Concise Prose. Enough Said.
purple feathers backround pattern


By Alla Michelle Watson

Three nights ago, Katie had caught her husband shtupping his assistant, a birch-thin Russian with ridiculously long eyelashes, thick as overdeveloped caterpillars.

"That Bolshevik bitch," Katie said. We were perched on barstools in her kitchen, the only bright spot in the house. The sun slanted through low windows, and I lifted my face to catch some warmth on my cheeks. Irritated with my contentment, Katie twisted the blinds shut. "I feel fat,'' she sighed, glimpsing her reflection in the mirrored wall: skin freckled with middle-age acne, stringy hair pulled into a tortured ponytail.

"Then don't eat any more cookies," I said. She'd polished off two boxes and now reached for a third, ebony bangles on her wrists clanking like castanets.

"At least they are sealed," she mumbled, her mouth full of Girl Scouts. "So the cockroaches can't get inside. Try one!"

The bangles clanked another hysterical opus and I slapped away her hand as if it were a pesky fly. "Cockroaches, here?"

She raised one shoulder in a careless shrug. "Not here, silly. In the bedroom."

I jumped off the barstool and marched upstairs. Katie trailed behind, her breathing ragged. The drapes were closed and I squinted, adjusting to the dimness of northern exposure.

"There!" she cried, waving her fingers at a spot on the wall where an army of black advanced like soldiers into unknown territory, inch by inch. Above the bed was a framed portrait of Dostoyevsky, and the cockroaches scrambled over its edges, following a prescribed escape route, as if they wanted to avoid the man who had a reputation of hating everything, possibly even cockroaches.

"Caught them in our bed," Katie said, and her voice stalled. "The bitch has flawless skin, no stomach, and her legs! Taut as a rifle."

"Of course she has no stomach," I said. "She didn't give birth to three kids."

Katie watched the cockroaches with her head tilted to the side, as if observing a panoramic view. "Beauty will save the world," she intoned. She liked to quote dead Russian authors at the most inappropriate times. Anchoring my hand on her shoulder, I took off my gorgeous Prada sandal, aimed at the fattest cockroach, fired and missed.

"It hasn't yet," I said.


Alla Michelle Watson was born and raised in Ukraine. Her stories have been published in Muse Apprentice Guild, Insolent Rudder, Skive Magazine, Salome, and others.  She is the associate editor of Mad Hatters’ Review.

Photo "Cockroach Image II" courtesy of Tinder.

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