By Thomas Kearnes

Two birds in the bush are worth one in the hand. Too many cooks make the broth. You can certainly win if you don’t play. We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself. Always look a gift horse in the mouth. Live life on life’s terms. Fags go on dates hoping for sex, breeders have sex hoping for dates. It’s simple to find love without respect. I can’t, he can, I think I’ll let him. One drink is too many, and a thousand is never enough. You can attract far more bees with vinegar than honey.

I am a petty man. I want love. I want revenge. I want your cake more than I want my own. There’s a fat kid telling his life story, from Corpus Christi to Laredo to homelessness to hallelujah. I read a Sittenfeld short story. Disrespect: this place is thick with it. I hold the book high and away, like an evening edition. Don’t think less of me—don’t give me what I want. He dissed me a week, two weeks ago. There was a fellowship of fools, and the butterball saw me sitting there against the sober shack, dragging a smoke, and called out to the others, I’ll see you at the place. (The newcomer is the most important member!) It gets better—or worse. I fucked his ex-boyfriend last summer. It was decent or terrible or brief. Houston’s gay scene, like every gay scene ever seened, is rife with incest. He’s done talking. The other boys applaud. It was a fascinating story.

Fake it until you make it. Your best thinking led you here. Spare the rod and spare the child. If you love him enough, he will change. God loves to hear your plans. This, too, shall pass. It’s easy to love a dead man. I want revenge. Don’t give me what I want. The road to redemption is paved with good intentions. The easier, softer way is steps one through twelve. Faith chases away the fear. I want your cake more than I want my own. It’s a fascinating story. We are not who loves us, we are who we love. There but for the grace of God unfolds my story, your story, our story. It gets worse—unless it gets better.

Thomas Kearnes is a former Literary Lambda Award and Pushcart Prize nominee. His flash has appeared in Jellyfish Review, jmww journal, Adroit Journal, NUNUM, Split Lip Magazine, Coastal Shelf, MoonPark Review and elsewhere. His two story collections, “Texas Crude” (Lethe Press) and “Death by Misadventure” (Dark Ink Books), are available wherever books are sold.

Artwork by Lesley C. Weston (Digital Pastel and Ink)

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