by James Claffey
The rats claw frantic in the space between wall and floor, their nails tearing away, bloodied stumps pathetic, useless tools for digging their way out of the prison. The dream is of a riot, a foreign country, Turkey, perhaps. Don’t get lost, stay close to the guide, palm a hand along an unseen wall, blind leading the blind. Broken finger, broken clavicle, broken spirit, the implications suggest no cure, no salve, no solution. Intelligence comes from without, collected like rain in a barrel, useless to all but the thirsty. They gather, the unseen, the unnamed, in tarted-up hotel lobbies, in banquet halls where lies and subterfuge mingle with trust funds and transsexuals afraid of revealing the truth of alteration. Vows—obedience, chastity, poverty, no torture of blue caterpillars, or of single-engined aircraft. On blank pages of yellow lines the words descend to absurdity, the curlicues on the y’s and j’s and q’s overdone, the persistence of the ampersand merely a stage act to throw the close readers off the scent.
James Claffey hails from County Westmeath, Ireland, and lives on an avocado ranch in Carpinteria, CA. His work has appeared in the New Orleans Review, Word Riot, Metazen, Necessary Fiction, FWriction and many other places. His short fiction collection, “Blood a Cold Blue, Stories” is published by Press 53.