Monthly Archives: December 2013

Night Watch

by Roland Goity

This is Rockhaven, a half-day’s drive to civilization, where the heart of town – post office, gas station, general store slash deli, and First Presbyterian Church – revolves around a 4-way stop. The quadrant on the hilly side stands out. It’s the church that’s Rockhaven’s centerpiece. Reverend Thomas led the effort behind its shiny new paint job, which emits a sparkling halo on extraordinarily sunny days, ‘otherworldly’ some call it. The church bell rings not only Sunday. Events take place throughout the week, once the public school kids and quasi-professional, non-farmer types have returned from studying and working in Summertown, or from as far away as Adams Valley. There’s no industry in Rockhaven. Hasn’t been since the psychiatric hospital in the distance shuttered decades ago. Evidently there were some serious problems at the facility so it had to close. Now all that’s left are brick barriers, concrete walkways, and jutting rebar in a skeleton maze of what once must have been a formidable structure. Although First Presbyterian is the town’s official place of worship, every year more and more teenagers try to summon spirits while partying down at the hospital ruins. They ignore the Danger and No Trespassing signs and slip through a bolt-cut wedge of a chain-link, barbed-wire fence in the dead of night, their cars parked off in a stand of woods nearly a half-mile away. The dilapidated site fascinates them with its history, its morbidity. Without fail someone will spout: ‘I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy, before taking a swig of wine or liquor. The old joke takes on a special meaning here: frontal lobotomies and electroshock therapy treatments were performed as routinely as oil changes, the hospital’s patients like vehicles in need of a tune-up or lube job, required repair if they wanted to safely navigate the road back home. Such a legacy, when combined with a brisk wind or snapping branch under foot, sends chills across the arms and shoulders of kids, many of whom are drunk, high, tweaked, or maybe tripped out. There’s always a hint of uncertainty. They gaze at the night’s shadows figuring ghoulish figures might suddenly appear and reclaim their right minds, and the right to think for themselves. It’s a source of entertainment that can’t be found in Summertown, or even Adams Valley. It’s a Rockhaven thing. 

  

Roland Goity lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he writes in the shadows of planes coming and going from SFO. His stories can be found in Fiction International, The Raleigh Review, Word Riot, Compass Rose, PANK, and more recently in The MacGuffin, Menacing Hedge, Defenestration, and Bluestem. He edits WIPs: Works (of Fiction) in Progress.

 

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Q: What Makes Our Quinceañera Supply Store A Cut Above The Rest? A: Customer-Fucking-Service.

by Thomas Mundt

The Internet Age is one of options, of devastating alternatives that can cripple a man or his small business quicker and more efficiently than any oxidized piece of rebar could ever dream. Seems like you can’t walk down the street or commandeer an ’81 Hatteras Wide-Body Power Yacht without having your eardrums assaulted by the din of the newest, brashest kids on the quinceañera block, all promising the moon and its vast oil reserves to gain not only your business but your trust.

Pardon me while I make the air-jerk-off motion, but only because it’s just the two of us and I feel like we already have a rapport and you’re not going to interpret the gesture as my tacit condonation of the patriarchal construction of language.

If you want to survive, nay, thrive in this business, you need a plan that puts people first, and ahead of trendy buzzwords like sustainability and OSHA compliance. That’s why, at Quince Sustanivos, we’ve been servicing Southwest Michigan and select Central American mining communities with a singular focus:

Customer-Fucking-Service.

No, we don’t have a staring problem, but thanks for asking! It’s just that, when you’ve been in business for as many months as we have (two), you learn a thing or three about delivering to your customers the high-quality balloons, tablerunners, and, our favorite, the ‘Mis Quince’ Venetian Half-Mask and Gloves Combo Paks, they deserve. You discover that moving units has less to do with slick circulars and appropriate Cuidado: Piso Mojado signage in the washrooms than it does Mrs. Alvarez’ gardenias, or La Familia Calderon’s recent exploration of Carlsbad Caverns.

It’s the little things, like never, ever mentioning Luís around Rosa Hermosillo because she still hasn’t forgotten about the tire fire and often forgets to re-up on her Celexa, that make all the difference.

Sure, you could go to The Other Guys (insert the sound of me puking all over your face) and save a buck, but do you really want long lines, pushy commissioned salespeople, and feeling like It’s never the right time, Gary! It’s fucking never the right time because everything’s about fucking you!*

I mean, do you?

No way, José!

So, remember:

The need of a constantly-expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.** And, when it comes to one-stop shopping for all of your quinceañera needs, make it Quince Sustanivos today. You and Your Little Lady will be glad you did!***

*The competitors of Quince Sustanivos and their affiliates may not be responsible for your generalized feelings of remorse and resentment. The same may be directly attributable to Gary, who is not a Registered Agent of Quince Sustanivos or its subsidiaries.

**Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

***Your Little Lady has entered an awkward phase of indefinite length. During this stage, nothing you do or say will be right and her hatred for you will be palpable at the dinner table, including but not limited to gatherings for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper (a Midwest variant of dinner), and dessert.

 

Thomas Mundt is the author of one short story collection, You Have Until Noon to Unlock The Secrets Of The Universe (Lady Lazarus Press, 2011) and the father of one human boy, Henry (2011). Teambuilding opportunities and risk management advice can be found at http://www.jonathantaylorthomasnathanmundtdds.com.

 

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