Coyote, On The Move

The good folks at Chicago Literati put this piece of mine up on their site for their magic realism issue. It’s a tighter edit (at the suggestion of my friend Catfish McDaris) of something I wrote a few months back called “Passing Through”. Thanks, much appreciated to all.

Chicago Literati November 30, 2016 Current Issue, Feature Issues, Fiction, Magic: The Magical Realism Issue
Coyote, Moving On by Doug Mathewson

 

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Buckshot holes in her pack and the shoulder of her jacket told a story I didn’t want to know. Her being so hungry, ravenous you could say, and having dirty hands and matted down hair you could see she’d been living rough. Had more hair about the face than most women, starting out light on her cheeks and getting redder as it went back. Bright black eyes, not like a regular person. Now you could ask about a tail and find out just how sharp that knife on her belt was. Find out how quick she was too. Damned quick I’d say, from the look of her. With troubles up north some people, especially people who were part something else were making their way south. Keeping to themselves. Being real quiet about it. I’d done that trip a couple or more years back, run across a few other folks who had too. For now, I’ll just buy her two more burgers with fries and be listening when fox-girl wants to talk.

She liked it when I called her Coyote, figured she was from someplace they still told the Tricksters old stories. She was from no-place on the northwest side of nothing, way up in Quebec. She said she hoped her two moms wouldn’t be worried. I thought she meant one thing, but then knew she was meaning was her human mom and her birth mom. There aren’t a lot of people up there. Two dozen trailers maybe, up on a big lake with nothing but forest in every direction. Some youngsters come out of the woods, and other kids get curious and want to go in. People take in each other’s children, their kid’s friends. That’s how bonds were made and families grew. I remember it too. Native kids, Quebecois, and forest kids, running like a little tribe. More winters you spend in the trailer more human your ways. Start speaking French and wearing clothes sometimes. Seeing if you liked the people part. Seeing how much you might miss the other.

Coyote was down to a smear of ketchup and a glass of ice when she asked if I knew a place she could stay. (Better she asked than I offered). Sure, maybe, I said well, maybe sure. You can stay with us. I’ll check with my wife but most likely it’s okay.” Coyote smiled natural now, not afraid to show her teeth. My wife, Claire, got native blood, the daughter of a medicine man, so she recognized me right away when we meet. It was something else, the magic we had back then. Together the two of us pulling from both the earth and sky. She thought it was funny when I asked her to marry me. Man nor boy on that whole damned island had been brave enough to ask her. We told her folks, and funny thing, they saw it as us being married was about the old ways. Spirit Worlds of man and nature combined. I know Claire misses them. I miss them too. Miss that whole way of life.

More than likely the girl staying on with us will be alright, but I’m not fool enough to be bringing home a bottomless pit of a dirty she-fox kid without asking. Couple of months maybe me and Claire be moving on anyway. Go out to the coast, get a job on a fishing boat. Be spring then and I’ll be going white to brown like I do every year. Leave here before anybody starts asking questions. Your hair, your beard, they can go all white and people just think you’re getting old. It don’t work the other way. People get funny and start to ask. Yeah, dump the job, screw the boss, screw the rent too and just leave. Won’t be first time I’ve been called a weasel.

The Holidays

Real short, but all you need. That’s the point of Flash fic isn’t it? From another era in American life, universal family stuff I guess.

NOTE: 4/25/17 this piece is now up online at The Literary End literaryend.blogspot.com What they do is post short fiction accompanied by a photo of someone or somethings butt. I got a pug’s ass. Thank you very much.

The Holidays

Your mother had had three drinks.
Mine just finished number four.
Soon the fur will fly.

Doug Mathewson

Emily and Frida

We are very fortunate to have a pair of young kitten sisters in our house. We adopted then in early Oct. of 2016 when they were about five moths old. They are petite tuxedo cats and bring us great joy and companionship. They are named for Canadian painter Emily Carr, and Frida You-know-who.

Meow-Let’s-Go-Anarchy

Watching our black and white kittens shred the laces out of
my black Converse high-tops. Joey Ramone would be so proud.

Doug Mathewson

Amazon

I’m glad we joined Amazon Prime so the cats get a new box to play with every couple of days.

Doug Mathewson

 

Glow-Bee and Me

I was reading a lesser know Phillip K. Dick novel called “Maze of Death” and was inspired to write this. Not by the novel itself but by the table on contents where every chapter has a brief description of what to expect. The descriptions had nothing at all to do with the novel and I thought that was great.

Glow-Bee and Me

Our implants told me and Glow-Bee that we won a rabbit in a raffle. She didn’t know what a rabbit was, and I’d never heard of a raffle before. When you’re pan-dimensional like us, sometimes it’s hard. Or that’s what we think we are anyway. Glow-Bee just says “Same shit, different day”, but I don’t agree with her about that. I call her “her’ because sometimes she appears as a very tall older woman. Mostly she looks like a big glowing iridescent bee. Twice now that I can remember she was an entire K-pop band from a hundred years ago. Mostly I’m people. I’m like a slide show and I’ll look the same for maybe a couple of days or only a few minutes. Always, always I have a beard.
Usually some fat guy with a bushy face, occasionally a bearded lady. Glow-Bee says sometimes when I’m sleeping I look like a squid with a beard (I have no idea what she means by that). Anyway now we have to find a common plane where we both have
physical bodies and go see about that rabbit. Glow-Bee is after me about something called a “ticket”, what ever that is.

Doug Mathewson

Getting Out The Vote

I wrote this pre-election Nov. 2016 when I and much of the country was in a lighter mood. The inspiration for this story comes from a story by Amanda Marbais called “Colossal”. It’s published in “Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet” issue #34. The story is brilliant and involves a giant squid named Gerald who is dealing with among other things his droid-porn addiction.

Getting Out The Vote

When he was nominated the business of who would be the first not actually completely human candidate for office was resolved, and Ball Joint was fantastically popular. He had good looks, a quick wit, and always seemed to be enjoying life. His appeal was universal. He was a household word, if not one spoken aloud.
Human people did not care to admit they knew him as the world’s most popular droid-porn star. Other droids would point it out with pride and hybrid or humanoid
citizens found this aspect of Ball Joint’s success story hilarious. Now he was “Candidate Ball Joint” and the world could move on towards election day.
All adult citizens got to vote. Fox people, dog people, rabbit people (don’t call them “bunnies”), all species and of course androids. Everyone except zombies because fuck them, and are they alive or what?
Droids were the first to get the vote. The old style original humans were few, and those few were faltering. Everyone loved droids. They were pleasant, polite, often charming, and always willing to take on the most unwanted tasks. The jobs no one wanted to do. Like being a poet. Who would want that, with such long hours and so little reward?
Some in the press called him “Nick Chopper”, a reference to Dorothy’s Tin Man
without a heart when he proposed major cut backs, even on oxygen production to balance a budget that had long been mired by decades of neglect and abuse. Ball Joint’s supporters came up with the slogan “Oil Can” in response. The slogan that soon appeared on T-shirts, banners, and bumper stickers.
The real clincher, the move that would be credited for his eventual win, was when Ball Joint started making his appearances in full droid porn gear with a big old fashion oil can in hand. Giving a knowing wink, he’d shoot a couple of squirts from the oil can and say; “This election,…. it’s gonna be tight”!

Doug Mathewson

Passing Through

The bullet holes in her pack and the shoulder of her jacket told a story I didn’t want to know. Her being so hungry, ravenous you could say, and having dirty hands and matted
down hair you could see she’d been living rough. Had more hair about the face than most women, starting out light on her cheeks and getting redder as it went back. Bright black eyes, not like a regular person. Now you could ask about a tail and find out just how sharp that knife on her belt was. Find out how quick she was too. Damned quick I’d say, from the look of her. With troubles up north some people, especially people who were part something else were making their way south. Keeping to themselves. Being real quiet about it. I’d done that trip a couple or more years back, run across a few other folks who had too. For now, I’ll just buy her two more burgers with fries and be listening when fox-girl wants to talk.

She liked it when I called her Coyote, figured she was from someplace they still told
the Tricksters old stories. She was from no-place on the north west side of nothing, way up in Quebec. She said she hoped her two moms wouldn’t be worried. I thought she meant one thing, but then knew she was meaning was her human mom and her birth mom. There aren’t a lot of people up there. Two dozen trailers maybe, up on a big lake with nothing but forest for miles and miles. Some curious youngsters come out of the woods, and other kids get curious and want to go in. People take in each others children, their kid’s friends. Thats how bonds were made and families grew. I remember it too. Native kids, Quebecois, and forest kids, running like a little tribe. More winters you spend in the trailer more human your ways. Start speaking French and wearing clothes sometimes. Seeing if you liked the people part. Seeing how much you might miss the other.

Coyote was down to a few fries and a glass of ice when she asked if I knew a place she could stay. Better she asked than I offered. “Sure”, I said. “Sure maybe. Most likely you can stay with us awhile. I’ll check with my wife but most likely it’s okay.” Coyote smiled natural now, not afraid to show her teeth. My wife, Claire, got native blood, the daughter of a medicine man, so she recognized me right away when we meet. It was something else, the magic we had back then. Together the two of us pulling from both the earth and sky. She thought it was funny when I asked her to marry me. Man nor boy on that whole damned island was brave enough (or foolish enough) to ask her. We told her folks, and funny thing, they saw it as us being married was about the old ways. Spirit Worlds of man and nature combined. I know Claire misses them. I miss them too, and that way of life.

More than likely the girl staying on with us will be alright, but I’m not fool enough to be bringing home a bottomless pit of a dirty she-fox kid without asking. Couple of months maybe me and Claire be moving on anyway. Maybe out east to the coast, look for a job on a fishing boat. Be spring then and I’ll be going white to brown like I do every year. Leave before anybody starts asking questions. Your hair, your beard, they can go all white and people just think you’re getting old. It don’t work the other way. People start to ask. Yeah, dump the job, screw the boss, screw the rent too and leave. Won’t be first time I’ve been called a weasel.

Doug Mathewson

Oblivious

The older women give him the evil eye.
He’s draped open mouthed over the most desirable machine in the gym.
It has been twenty minutes. Unmoving he stares into space.
Many now wish to use the machine, finish their work out, and go home.
Men, in various states of awareness, ignore all this.
His upper body moves enough to stare at the athletic behinds of much younger woman.
They dislike him, the older women dislike him even more.
The women and the few men who are not borderline comatose arrive at a consensus.
The man is a fool, beyond oblivious.

Doug Mathewson

Personality Test

In Sunday’s newspaper there was a test or a quiz. It asked as if it were a bad thing) if you had become your father or someone else. There were several answers to choose from, but I do not remember what they were.

Never became my father, just look like him.
What I became was my uncles. All of them.
My mothers fire and drive, her odd sense of justice.
Her moral code that I live through the shuffled incarnations of
my five uncles. Dead now, everyone one.
The larger than life wildcard, stories full of adventure, who vanished to the west.
The smart and quiet, the resentful one. Self exiled, distant in his anger.
The world traveler! A most accomplished man, who brought home nothing.
Stories he would spin with an elegant ease. So alone in his life.
The youngest one, the damaged fold. Handsome he died so young.
The self proclaimed hero. A bullshitter, so full of himself. People included or
excluded from his ever evolving myth of self at whim.
I stumble through these five daily, like punch-cards shuffled machine quick.
Each with my mothers stubborn optimism, seen through my father’s gentle eyes.

Doug Mathewson

Denention With Happy Little Trees

“What do you do in art class detention? Do you have to wash out paint brushes, or sharpen pencils, or what?”

“No, we do those things anyway. It’s like a study hall, only really horrible.”

“So you just sit, or do you have to write the names of the Dutch masters five hundred times or what?”

“Worse, way worse. They make us draw the worst things. Cliche art, completely mind numbing bad. We have to do motel art for one thing. You know, sad clowns and big-eyed kids? They threatened one guy, said
he’d have to do a Velvet Elvis! He got pretty upset, so they let him off with some washed out impressionist seascapes. He was actually shaking!”

“Well what about you? What did you have to do, or don’t you want to talk about it?”

“It was funny. They were real serious and told me I had to draw Snoopy. I knew what they wanted, what they expected. Snoopy on top of his dog house, or Snoopy dancing, you know something like that. So what I did instead was the Snoopy balloon, the one that’s used in the Macy’s Parade every Thanksgiving. All those balloons are stored in New Jersey you know, and only brought into Manhattan for the parade. So what I did was a painting of all the balloon handler clowns trying to get Snoopy into the Holland Tunnel. All these clowns straining away, pushing and shoving on Snoopy’s butt. trying to get him into the tunnel. Every clown had my teacher’s face.”

“Uh-ho…. how did that go over?”

“Good I guess. They gave me a pass for next week to use the 3-D printer in the library. I wonder how big I can make it?”

Doug Mathewson

Skill Sets

Juan Carlos didn’t grow up around here. He’s from Guatemala so he knows a lot of stuff we don’t. Stuff like how to keep a nectarine peel in one piece, turn it inside out and make a little nativity creche to hang on the tree. With a Sharpie he made a simple version of the scene inside. That’s so cool!
I closed one eye peeked in to admire his work. There were little shepherds with their sheep, three wise-men with gifts, and a tiny manger. But my girlfriend was Mary and Juan Carlos was Joseph! That’s not cool at all!

Doug Mathewson