'DOLLY' by GARTH MIRÓ

DOLLY


The birds are quiet now.

I smashed them with my hammer.

Little bursts:

green,

blue,

brown,

and of course,


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It’s quiet and I can finally think.

What should I think about? Without all the twittering and white shit and hungry pointy mouths, I have a boundless field to explore. I’m not chained to Mrs. Voronin’s tiny precious fucks! I have this time, which I admit will likely be short, to think about whatever comes. And then in an hour or so when Mrs. Voronin gets back from her shopping, she’ll see what I’ve done and scream and the cops will come and blast my groin to a pulp, or broil my head and groin, or worse. But right now, right this instant, a massive golden field stretches out.

Hmmm. Thinking. Thinking, thinking. You know what? It actually looks quite bare. I can hardly remember anything about my old life. I guess I was a normal man? Yes, I liked tomatoes. I think there was a movie I enjoyed.

I go over to the window and look out for the first time in what feels like years. Down in the garden, there’s a woman working in the soil. She’s bending over and I can see the curve of her ass. I get an erection. I remember! I have a cock! I remember, as I study the milky sweat beading on her shoulder, that I used to have a girlfriend. Dolly. My ugly little thing. We were in love? Yes. She would cook for me. Yes! Ham sandwiches, I think they were.

“Are you almost done?” she called out, that one day.

I remember…I was eating one of those sandwiches and mustard was going everywhere. It dripped on my shirt and that enraged me. “Fuck!” I said, I think. Dolly, who always wore the same white gown and hat—and a silver name tag, yes!—rushed in quickly. She had my pills. I didn’t want to take them, but had no choice. Always behind Dolly, somewhere, was the shadow. Its cold insect eyes. It would come and sting and put me to sleep if I ever fought with Dolly. It had a clipboard with all my failures written down.

That day, I handed the sandwich plate over. I took the pills and Dolly seemed happy. She patted my head, which I interpreted as wanting sex, so I pulled my stuff out. She looked horrified! “That was your last chance,” she said. “I’ve had enough of your shit, you fucking wacko. I don’t get paid enough for this.”

She stormed out.

<LOOK AWAY FROM SCREEN AT SOMETHING ELSE>

To get the shadow.

<PUT A VERY BAD SONG ON VERY LOUDLY>

I needed to hide.

But no good spots! Just flat and shine. I had no desk. No chair. Not even a window. There was only the bed with its hard bleached sheets. I pulled them up.

Moments later, Dolly came back. She didn’t say anything. But I could hear the shadow behind her, clicking its pen. I saw it looming and then felt its sting and just before I went to sleep, I heard it speak for the very first time. “How much do you think we can get for him?” it said, in a man’s voice.

And then I woke up here.

I back away from the window. I look at the bodies on the table. They’re starting to smell. Thoughts start pouring from my mouth and eyes and nose like eggs. I can’t keep them in. I wish the shadow could sting me again. Then I could sleep. I could dream about Dolly in her crisp little hat. I wish she was here. I know I’d be good for her. I’d eat every pill. Buckets full! The eggs are falling to the ground and frying up and I’m not crying! I’m trying to put the birds back together, but they just won’t go. Come on, you precious fucks! It’s too quiet! It’s too quiet and Mrs. Voronin will be furious and who knows where I’ll have to go next!

 

Garth Miró is a writer from Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Litro, Sundog Lit, XRAY, Expat, Hash, Misery Tourism, Shark Reef, and PoliticsNY.com. He was a semifinalist for North American Review's 2021 Kurt Vonnegut Prize.