THE MOUTH by Michael Jeffrey Lee

—You like it, huh?


—The river.

—Love it.

—It's pretty nasty in the daytime.

—It ain't daytime now.

—Fog's nice too, huh?

—Like a pall.

—I tell you about my dream?

—The one about the rat?

—A new one. You finished with that bottle?

—Not yet.

—So, I'm swimming in the river.

—This one here?

—That's right. I'm naked, too, and by myself.


—And everything's good, I'm swimming to my heart's content, but then my arms and legs get heavy.

—Can't swim with heavy limbs. You yelling?

—Screaming like a bitch.

—But you don't die?

—No, something comes to my aid.

—Lucky duck. What?

—I'll give you a hint: it floats when it bloats.

—That's a body.

—A cadaver, yeah.

—Dick or slit?

—Can't tell—it's face down.

—But naked?

—Naked, yeah.

—It assists you?

—I see it come by, then I grab it.

—With those heavy hands?

—Well, they get lighter.

—Nice, all right. Is it buoyant?

—Yeah. I swing my legs over, sit up on it.

—On that dead ass?

—Yeah, cheek-to-cheek.

—You ride it, huh?

—I'm bobbin up and down.

—How's it feel?


—And the smell?

—Pure putrifiction.

—But the ride's good?

—Unlike anything.

—You take it back to shore?

—Nope, downstream.

—A little ways?

—A long ways.

—Past the refineries?

—All the way to the mouth, baby.

—Then what?

—I pass out on the sand.

—And the body?

—It just sorta sinks.

—Sounds like a good dream.

—It was.

—You wake up wet?

—You know it. What you think it means?

—Means drown a little, gain a lot. Means get the dead beneath you. Means out of bad, good.

—Yeah. I tell you my sister visited last week?

—Little miss security firm? What did she want?

—Just checking up on baby bro.

—Think she suspects anything?

—No. I was double careful.

—How was it?

—Good. Did some drinking.

—Family's family.

—That's right.

—You glad you moved back here?

—Oh, definitely.

—It's as crazy as you remember it?


—Gonna be crazy for a while, too.

—I know. Not many crazy places left.

—Getting to be a real clean country.

—So shall we do this?

—Yeah, let's get to it.

—Big day tomorrow, huh? Parade rolls at nine.

—You know I'll be ready.

—Don't forget your mask, madman.

—You know I won't.

—Pass me that bottle, would you?

—You bet.

—And do it gentle this time, all right?

—All right.


Michael Jeffrey Lee is the author of Something in My Eye. He lives in New Orleans.

Art by Matt Bivetto. Matt Bivetto lives in Brooklyn and works at Three Kings Tattoo.
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