portion of the artwork for Bobby Parker's story

Bobby Parker

My wife is away. It’s lonely here, I am desperate for somebody to come over and watch a movie or something.

Tom came over last night with a bottle of cider. I decided to show him Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely. Throughout the film Tom kept sending and receiving text messages on his phone. Rude. But I was grateful for the company. Didn’t complain.

* * *

After the film he came to life and said, “Oh man, I forgot to tell you what happened this morning!”

“What happened?”

“We were on the farm, after spending the night in a tepee. There’s a swing hanging from a huge tree, and the swing goes out over a valley. This girl, I can’t remember her name, jumped onto the swing and swung out too far, she fell off and landed on her head! We thought she’d broken her neck or something, but she got up and seemed all right, and then she held up her hand! It was split down the middle, between the fingers! You could see all the gore inside her hand!” He shuddered.

“Could you see the yellowy fatty stuff in there?” I asked.

“Yeah, some of the lads had to sit down because they felt faint.”

* * *

I would’ve loved that. A hand split down the middle, between the fingers. People screaming. No one invites me anywhere. I’m missing out on so much. It’s been a long time since something exciting happened, but it’s not like I’m crazy about people with split hands or cracked skulls or anything.

“Oh, and while we were sat around the campfire the night before …” He stopped speaking to cough. “Jess showed us this toy she’s got. It’s a wind-up nun that walks across the floor and shoots sparks out of its mouth.”

Tom walked into my kitchen and poured himself another cider.

I looked around the room, my face heavy in thought, hanging downward like a clothesline full of dark, wet clothes—thinking, nothing in my flat, nothing in my life, shoots sparks out of its mouth like a wind-up nun.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 30 | Fall 2010