The receiving end, this scrambled year.  Her heart.

The apartment ruined like road-kill with each strewn thing fighting with the next thing.  Socks at war with shoes, forks laying siege to plates, sunlight’s bitter, ideological standoff with curtains.   Then curtains march to the trenches with uncertain sweat, all in a nearly-audible riot to oblivion.  And then train-thumps through the walls, a prisoner signaling to the next cell “Let me out.”

Betty could not wait to be out. Her heart.

Match-snap and yarn-steady hand guides the flame to black wick emerging from curdled wax, curled like a dead finger, “Come here.  I know something that will split you apart.” So Betty keeps her questions under her tongue. She knows the answer, anyway. Just wait.


Beneath the red-and-white panic of a supermarket sign, Betty in alien fleshiness. You can almost see her tits.  Her heart.

This new skin at first nearly drove her insane.  She shrieked molten indignant warnings: “WE DO NOT SAY SUCH THINGS.” Soon she realized that she was simply unfamiliar with expressing anything at all.  This was almost worse, a secret funeral for her litany of measured choices which, step-by-step,  delivered her into the devil’s hands.


It turns out you can sit in a car, in a parking lot, and no one will see you.


In the end, they killed him and that was for the best. What he owed  wasn’t as valuable as the message his death sent:  “PAY YOUR FUCKING BILLS.”  And the kids didn’t seem too roughed-up.  Kids are weird that way, said Betty to herself one night.

Text and Images © Andrew Auten – All Rights Reserved