Flexing her biceps again and again until she actually grew a tad woozy from doing so, Pearl nevertheless kept feeling her left arm with her right fingers (and vice versa, of course) over and over, until one day, she skipped through her living room and on into the powder room with its mirror and visual confirmation that if she craved to bulk up and grow strong enough to truly go Cro-Magnon, then she was going to have to become sufficiently buff to be able to club her lover on his fedora-wearing head so he’d drop like a deflated judy-doll, and it would then be okay for Pearl to lose her thick, thick club of oak and drag her lover to the daybed in her duplex— well, in order for Pearl to accomplish all that, she was going to have to polish off even more than her standard fare of four nice bowls of steel-cut oatmeal every morning, an overstuffed hero sandwich near noon, and a sixteen-ounce rare porterhouse with Jujubes come dinnertime.

Wisely, she didn’t fail to see she’d also have to latch on to some brand new supporting hobbies, stuff like practicing the hammer throw in a midnight-empty football field nearby; or becoming expert in raising and harvesting beets, and then facile in distilling, aging, and herself consuming calorie-packed beet alcohol (this liquor stuff—naturally and understandably— within the tight confines of her own domicile); and additional muscle-and-mass-developing activities along these lines.

In perhaps her most challenging response of all, Pearl launched into changing certain of her attitudes. No more lightness of step and grace of movement: she began now to pound her feet down to meet the floorboards of her house or the crust of the earth outside, just like the rock-hard Neanderthal she was fast becoming. She also spat at many things she didn’t care zip about, and took a dump wherever she wanted; she never touched a razor anymore.

As for her lover, this Mr. Fedora, his head in time did meet Pearl’s re-found and hefty oaken weapon, and he was then dutifully dragged along the sidewalk and pulled up her foyer steps and into the place he’d now have to call home. Surprisingly however, he rather quickly adapted to his new surroundings, and came in time to lose a lot of language and one ton of oral nuance. He took to sketching and painting on the walls and continually sewing together pieces of clothing and fabric household items of every kind into one humongous counterpane, under which he’d scamper and hide whenever the front door or the back door was opened to the world outside.

Moral: Just a glimpse of what it can mean to be at a permanent loss for words or grace.


William C. Blome writes short fiction and poetry. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as The Alembic, Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.