Carol Roan – Fiction

AFTER  GOD  LEFT

by

Carol Roan

Frank Wilson decided to cook some oatmeal for his supper. Why not? At his age, he could eat whatever he damn well pleased. Truth be told, his stomach wasn’t what it used to be, and it had been acting up ever since his encounter with that newcomer, Geoffrey . . . Geoffrey . . . No matter his surname, not worth trying to remember. He didn’t know why he let the man upset him. 

“Now, Franklin, you know as well as I do why you’ve taken a disliking to that man.” Edith had been in her grave for fifteen years, but she still hung out in the kitchen, ever ready to tell him where he’d gone wrong. 

He’d eat in his den, that’s what. He poured some cream on his oatmeal, never mind his damn cholesterol. The thought of his doctor, and the feeling that Edith was glaring behind him, inspired him to throw some chocolate chips on top before he headed for his leather easy chair.

He was halfway through his supper before he could admit that Edith was right. As was too often the case. The Geoffrey fellow reminded him of himself, or of the man he’d been in his day. Except that Frank had been for bringing Spring Valley up to date, modern, and the new man was for taking the town backwards. Either way, the two of them were do-gooders, thinking they knew what was best.

The difference was that Frank had finally learned his lesson. Spring Valley wasn’t about to be changed. It would plod along its own mulish path, ready to give you a kick with a hind leg if you thought otherwise.

He put his empty bowl and cooking pot in the sink, told the hovering Edith that he’d wash them in the morning, and went upstairs. Where he lay straight and flat on his side of the bed, and made order of his tomorrow. Frank watched himself as he would move around the gardens and paint the front steps and, if he was up to it, fix the drain spout. If he planned until he was weary, he could sleep without dreaming, without seeing beyond his house and yard. Sharp on the edge of his mind were thoughts of who he might have been and what he might have done if he had not married, if he had not come back to Spring Valley. His order began at that fear’s edge of naming the ifs.

He had begun planning his retirement from the insurance business in Philadelphia when he decided he would move back to his hometown. Edith had wanted to settle in Delaware, near their daughter. But she’d been after him for thirty years to make peace with his father, so the next time she brought up that subject he agreed with her.

 “You’re right,” Frank said. “He’s not going to be around that much longer, and I’ll regret it if we don’t patch things up now. A few years in Spring Valley, and then we’ll move wherever you want.”

He thought it best to give her a week or two before he told her that his grandfather’s house had come up for sale, and that they’d be moving east sooner than she expected. He’d checked out the commute. He could drive—I-95 was a straight shot—or he could catch the train that ran between New York and Philadelphia. All in all, it had seemed like a good decision at the time.  

He had intended to spend his weekends fishing and golfing. But after they were settled in  and his gardens were planted, he began to see what Spring Valley needed with eyes he had brought from the outside world. He had a vision then of how the town and its men could be. 

Frank had been mayor for two terms but had not yet accomplished all that he’d set out to do. He had been up for re-election, with his head full of plans for the next two years. And then those plans had all withered and blown away one Saturday morning at the barbershop.

When he stopped in that morning for a trim, most of the chairs along the wall had been occupied by men waiting for a shave or a gossip, holding newspapers up near their faces to keep the talk from turning womanly. Then a man over by the window had made a remark, not meaning anything ugly by it, just joshing about how the mayor‘s father was walking the streets saying the town didn’t need any more of an uppity mayor who’d gone to college.

Frank’s father still held a sore spot in his heart. When the barber turned him around to face the mirror and give his blessing to the trim, that heart sickness came up into Frank’s eyes and changed his vision. He didn’t see anyone in the mirror that he recognized. He paid his two dollars, walked out of the shop, and saw his father clomping along the sidewalk in his fishing boots. He was flicking his dentures in and out of his mouth and talking loud to the trees about his son. Clomp, “uppity”, clomp, “college,” clomp, “idiot,” with the false teeth rattling like a skeleton’s jaw.

Frank walked back to his own yard and never let his thoughts drift toward the town again. As soon as his car was in the garage at night, he changed into his overalls and knelt in his gardens. Sunday mornings he drove Edith to church and himself out of the valley to play golf.

After he retired, he took Wednesdays for his sabbaths and left the town to fish in a lake beyond the hills. He went alone. 

Unless the neighbor-boys’ ball landed in his tomatoes. Then he asked if they wanted to go fishing on Wednesday. Beyond the ridge, memories of the outside world came back to him and he became a storyteller, a teacher. He laughed and told the boys stories about the life he lived outside, about the golf tournaments he’d won and the country he’d seen on his travels. He talked to them about how they should help their mother more and gave them advice about school, all mixed up with how to set the hook when a fish bites. 

“I was a psychology major myself,” he told them. “Remember, boys, there’s no better preparation for business. Doesn’t matter what you do in this life, you’re going to have to deal with people.”

On some Wednesdays when he fished alone, with only his past self for company, he thought about the girl Edith had been. He lay on the lake shore and felt strong and lazy again, and thought of bringing her with him. He imagined dipping his fingers into the cool edges of the lake and drawing her youth on her face until it shone, and then carrying her off into the woods.

He had asked her once. He’d made up his mind before he reached the ridge that he would not look down into the valley, but just keep his eyes on the winding road and walk straight into the house and ask her.

But she had said that he must be getting old, or maybe sick, because he knew that Wednesday was her prayer group day and that the Lord’s work came first.

The lake-smile that had traveled all that way on his face turned quiet, and his eyes lost their distance. He went to the garage to change his clothes. He put away his tackle and floated the pickerel not needed for supper in coffins of water for the freezer. That had been the end of such dreams.

Frank knew God had left the town long ago, without leaving behind any work for the women to do. And He was’t coming back, that was the plain fact. No matter that he had learned not to believe in God, the town had believed in God and that meant God had been there. Even the men had believed. Because they had needed God more than the women had.

When God had been there, the hills had been His hills, men’s hills, set on the earth to contain God’s people and to protect them. The hills had touched God’s sky, a strong sky that had kept the men upright and tall, had kept them from being sucked into the rich, giving earth of the valley.

The hills had never been breached when God was there, for the men then were heroes who went over the hills to fight the enemy. They had had order, then, and a reason to die. Even if they lay in the churchyard circling the oldest oak tree, an obelisk nearby marked their earth-covered bodies, and another monument marked where a famous speech about freedom was given, and another the house of a signer of the Declaration.

But after God left, the monuments stood lonely, and there were only the closing, circling hills, and a random sky that parched, or flooded, or ravaged the streets with lightening. 

Frank never told his wife God was gone. There wasn’t a man in town who didn’t know the hills didn’t reach to God anymore. And not one of them so cowardly as to tell a wife the sky was empty, a loss they had each borne in silence after that night when they had all felt the cold rise up out of their guts and never come back to them warmed by a Protecting Father.

Young as he’d been that Halloween night—still in his teens—he’d tried to warn the men. He had seen them going toward the train station with their shotguns carried low and strong. He had gone out into the middle of the street and tried to tell them that it was just the radio. That it wasn’t real, but just a made-up story about the Martians landing over in Grover’s Mill.

But they had pushed him aside with their gun barrels. The invaders would never get through the hills, they said. “The British didn’t get through and, by God, the Martians aren’t going to get through. We’ll turn them back at the station.”

He had watched them coming home in the chill of near-dawn, had seen them dark under the pale sky, their guns lifeless and drooping. A laugh had started deep in his belly for their cold night on the tracks scaring away nothing but voices that had come through the air. But their necks had been so bent, so vulnerable, that his laughter had twisted down into fear, and he had looked up for heaven. The first time he had done that since he was a little kid. 

Back then Frank could look up and find God with a white beard and white robes sitting on a gold throne straight up above the Presbyterian church steeple, looking down at the valley and smiling. He remembered how he had creased his eyes nearly shut and stretched his mouth open until God had shone out of the sun, or the moon, and had sat there as clear as anything.

He’d grown out of such childish beliefs more than a year before, and had expected he’d soon grow out of the loneliness that followed. But then the silent men had walked past his window—a crowd of them, each man somehow made lonely by the night—and the sky above the steeple was empty.

Tears started in Frank’s eyes at the old, old memory. Tears he’d thought had dried up long ago. Out of habit, he reached across to Edith’s side of the bed. But his hand found only the smooth, cold sheet.

He got out of bed, fumbled for his slippers, and made his way downstairs, holding onto the handrail, as he’d had to do of late. He filled a bowl with chocolate ice cream, added some caramel sauce, then some peanuts, and sat down at the kitchen table. He didn’t smile, didn’t want to encourage Edith that much, but he did look toward her chair.


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With graduate degrees in vocal performance from Indiana University and in business from Columbia University, Carol Roan has sung in the television premiere of a Ned Rorem opera and has testified about gold trading before the CFTC. Several of the stories from her collection have been published in literary journals; others, as yet unpublished have won awards, including a fellowship to Summer Seminars Russia, where she studied with Gina Ochsner. More information about Carol’s meandering career is available at www.carolroan.com.

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Olivier Cousin – 1 poem

ELECTRONIC PANDORA’S BOX 




He lives behind his box 
Spending, earning 
sharing, rendez-vousing 
leaving, loving 
So many opportunities 
fall flat on the screen 
None to fill up 
the emptiness of his new life 
He never knows whether he’s opening 
his email box or an enamelled bin 

Denying the critical mind 
he thinks he still possesses 
he can’t prevent himself from opening 
every single door 
He sits running after 
a true life he’ll never grab 
Last nail to his coffin 
wireless or not 
the mouse is no buoy 
He dies behind his box 



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Olivier Cousin was born in 1972 in Brittany (Western part of France) where he teaches French. Among his poetry books, the most recent are: La Hache de sable et autres poèmes (La Part Commune, 2015), Fragments du journal d’Orphée (Kutkha éditions, 2014). He has also published novels, short stories and children books. He has also translated into French two books of poetry by the English poet Roy Eales who now lives in Brittany. And sometimes he writes strange poems directly in English… 
See : http://oliviercousin.blogspot.fr 

Joe LaFata – Fiction

Everybody is from the Same Place

1.

Existing/growing on this lake is different than existing/growing on land. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Under sun and moon this body winks from coruscating coves and glittering inlets. Double suns replace alarm clocks: one high which nudges our shoulders at dawn; one low that sits on the body, shining its reflected light into our rooms under the seeps of doors. And the thickness of summer air: in its height the vegetation receives more, swells with humidity. The moisture emanating into the air from the body is so thick that when our families visit from out of town they walk around wearing snorkels. From inside, they sweat with each glance they poke outside through the windows, which remain clouded with condensation. And everything is green. Even the water is green in reflecting the puffs of green trees miles high, as big as clouds and as thick with water, too. Sweaty, slick branches uplift leaves that pant tears like hot, green tongues. Yet we have cycles, too. In a seasonal spiral towards vegetation’s abdication, the boughs give back more. Things turn colors. Fires scintillate on shorelines across the lake from wherever you are; their distant flashing accenting the shades of the season of everything falling into the water. Near-decomposed brown quilts of leaves crinkle under preteen feet racing to and from docks. Later, coupled teens pile quilts into abandoned boathouses for fun and fumbling, warming each other with skin against skin. It never freezes here: exposed limbs line the body and soon slip straight into sleeves of new leaves. The fresh and heavy heat comes quick, overnight. And now it has cycled into our last muggy months here in this place that I’m from and that, in some ways, everybody is also from. There is not enough of me to breathe it all in before leaving. Most everybody stays: getting hitched, thronging around the body in new homes, starting careers, saving up to buy their parents’ boats, generations upon generations of motor oil making faint trails through the body which just erases them anyway. And now, realization: there’s not enough time in this last summer cycle to be ready to leave, yet I’ve been breathing this my whole life, never once stopped breathing it or even left to breathe somewhere else. And leaving coming so quick that we’ve abandoned maintenance of the house. We have since allowed the fish to sleep on our roof. We have since let the vegetation swell wild, the grass appear mangy. And during sleep, shellfish and other lake-beings hover over my bed. Drip things into my open mouth.

 

2.

In the new place, sealant paint covers the walls white. They are not yet the color they will become. The first time I saw it I got embarrassed when we arrived in my father’s car and saw the others cutting wood with an electric saw, pouring concrete over his future porch. He takes me up to the house through the mud where the driveway will be. The halls echo with a voice like my own but older, one I can never inhabit, with plans for paints and future furniture: This is the master bedroom, this is the master bath. His voice goes on but all I can think of is this is the master bedroom, this is the master bath. He’s not pointing or gesticulating to the vaulted ceilings or high archways; he holds his hands behind his back like my grandmother taught him as a child when in stores, so as not to touch anything in that childishness he shed long before I knew him. Yet he’s making happy, quick steps, dodging piles of wood and stone, his wood and stone, soon to be placed into a permanence that will long outlive his retired time here, that will eventually become a place for others. And although he is from the same place as me, it’s not in the same way. We share experiences from the lake house, only gathered and kept them differently. Now, this skeletal frame filled with carpenters and the hammering of wood is housing for us a very different experience. And, for him, it is a good one. He shows it to me like it’s his new toy which requires our dislocation to be fully assembled. Later he asks how my own search for place is progressing because, frankly, time is running out. The yard isn’t much, he says, but that’s the point, you know. Less yard = less yardwork. No lake winds, no double sunsets blinding from the west. Less space—we don’t need it—functional rooms, open floorplan. It will be ready in October.

 

3.

The air’s thick moisture vibrates with the psalms of swans as they scull themselves across the body in this last summer cycle in this place which, in some ways, everybody is from. Someone living elsewhere could make that same argument, no matter how differently they see things. These twins down the lane sleep religiously tangled in each other in order to see each other’s dreams, wondering if one day they’ll be separated and how they’ll share each other’s memories like they do now. They wake in kayaks bumping against their neighbors’ docks, arms linked so as not to drift away from each other. Still come and visit us, they say as they pass by our dock in synchronous paddling. During their wet naps at noon in the grass, short and neat next to ours which we have long since allowed to climb past our knees, they dream in nervous conjectures what translocation from each other will feel like, guessing its texture. Anyway, it is sweating and, like a lantern, the body holds moonlight: the bulb above feeding the shimmering bulb below. The heads of snakes make trails in the body close to shore, where we are sitting and drinking. I breathe in, hard. We pull fish out of the body like flapping silver coins and take the hooks out of their mouths, send them swimming into September.


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Joe LaFata is earning his MA in Digital Publishing from the University of Illinois Springfield. Having earned a BA in Creative Writing from Illinois College, he has lived in the Midwest his entire life. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Forte, The Alchemist Review, and Flash Fiction Magazine. 

Simon Robson – 4 poems 

4 MALE ROCK STARS AT THE POST OFFICE

 

1. IGGY POP AT THE POST OFFICE (GOING INSANE)

 

Iggy Pop at 

the Post Office – eating burnt cottage pie

and baked beans,

spurting mayonnaise and tomato sauce everywhere,

chips covered in grease,

eggs swimming all over the floor,

breast stroke, butterfly, crawl.

 

He’s finding it difficult to open the sachets 

provided – he’s talking to Bonita the canteen lady,

her hair braided with glass beads, tinkling,

how she took a day off because of her birthday,

mundane stuff, Gurkha kids beating up English kids

outside her house, racial riots –

not that he’s got much appetite or interest,

drowning in grease.

 

He knows the Post Office are proposing drastic changes –

intent on removing all flexed flights from

airports like Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow,

thanks to the CWU union letter he received –

letter boxes are to be cleared no more than twice

a day, most of the driving duties changed,

the removal of night shifts, drivers to segregate

and tray meter, firm, company collections on the bay,

battling with the elements, wind, sleet and rain,

the removal of 2C to more efficient units,

those workers willing to sacrifice their weekends,

their families, kids and friends.

 

He feels saddened by events unfolding –

even though they’re beyond his control,

not as assured as he thought he was, an amoeba –

Iggy Pop at the Post Office,

his pension, lifestyle in jeopardy,

wishing he’d got out quick instead of staying,

running around in circles, endless circles,

driving himself insane.

 


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2. LOU REED AT THE POST OFFICE (DOING HIS BEST)

 

Lou Reed at 

the Post Office, an irascible character, arguing with everyone,

the union rep, a management stooge, he says.

 

Lou Reed at

the Post Office, scratching his Roman,

aquiline nose, he wishes, being Jewish –

better than the lead singer of the Ramones.

 

He knows the management are intent on cutbacks,

a whole shopping list of savings –

processing 1C only on Sundays,

limiting local feeder services, SA’s and overtime,

letting TNT take over, hapless fools –

eliminating crash sorting,

closing inward operations and moving them to Monday,

monthly pay instead of weekly.

 

He’s doing his best, almost humble,

gladdened by his success rate, limited failures,

ex-wife, mortgage and grandchildren,

all that he’s achieved out of his paltry existence, meagre –

better than Little Richard.

 

He’s reached his full potential, stamping packets,

his purpose here on the planet,

embracing sunshine, heavenly sunshine,

Californian, Holiday Inn sunshine,

the snow peaked summit of his rich, half-starved existence,

ribs sticking out in all directions –

like he’s in Japan, sitting on top of

Mount Fuji, a Buddhist monk, reading Yukio Mishima,

Spring Snow, Runaway Horses –

instead he’s missing his ex-wife, Lisa, he says,

now that she’s gone –

he’s stalled at the traffic lights on the

Farnborough Road,

police cars with cameras waiting, speed cameras –

exasperated by the delay, he’s facing the new BMW

showrooms in his Ford Cortina, a rust bucket, 70’s motor,

which he bought second-hand

by accident, all of the back seats collapsed,

stolen or missing,

peanuts, Digestive biscuit crumbs –

Lou Reed at the Post Office.

 


🍃

 

3. DAVID BOWIE AT THE POST (FEELING ALRIGHT)

 

Even though he knows the Post Office are determined

to obstruct any strike action with propaganda,

cheap videos of Allan Leighton shot by his teenage daughter,

her Arts and Media GCSE –

regarding the wholesale elimination of overtime and SA’s

on all indoor night workers like him,

not that he does much overtime anyway,

happy with his basic wage, meagre as it is –

he knows the plans are to amalgamate

the 1C and 2C despatch together, saving time

 

 

but he still plans strike action,

marking his X in the relevant box,

‘Yes’ or ‘No’ –

maybe going down the snooker hall,

pub or betting shop –

the introduction of driver assists, contractor workers from Manpower,

agency workers, and arrival flexibility,

none of the lorries turning up on time.

 

He’s feeling alright, good inside –

he’s unashamed about his existence here on the planet,

knowing where he’s meant to be, throwing GU packets,

thanking his dear mum for his etiquette and manners,

working here at the Post Office, a manual letter sorter,

GU 11-17, Aldershot, Fleet, Camberley, Sandhurst and Yateley,

home of the secretarial school where his wife went to –

David Bowie, one of his eyes a different colour, altered.

 

He’s an indoor all night worker,

bleaching his hair on occasion,

his car with red go-faster stripes down the sides,

laughing at the police with their speed cameras,

sweating, toiling hard sometimes,

grateful for his pension and health insurance, no ulcers –

the last horse he backed

was called Nil Desperandum at Aintree,

which was about right, losing.

 

An individual, secure of his sexuality –

he’s happy sorting letters and flats,

multi-tasking, an octopus, his tentacles everywhere,

doing what’s required of him with the least amount of fuss,

uncomplaining.

 

He demands complete respect from his managers

and fellow indoor all night workers,

winning awards and medals for his efforts,

the best in the South Central Area – David Bowie.

 

‘Louie, Louie, oh baby…’

 

Reverence.

 


🍃

 

4. MICK JAGGER AT THE POST OFFICE 

(SOMEWHAT ASHAMED)

 

Even though the Post Office are millions in profit,

delivering a 100% service to all its customers, the general public,

whether they’re holidaying in Weymouth or Bournemouth,

ice creams, donkeys,

or stuck on the Isle of Bute, somewhere off the Outer Hebrides,

self-reliant, scratching a living, crofting.

 

He’s got loud guitars, wah-wah pedals,

waves of fuzz, green, purple fuzz,

rusty saxophones and drums banging in his ears, ceaseless –

he’s got a wife who he’s been married to for forty years,

never transgressing, his sexual conduct –

he’s a first aider, an ex-army medic,

bandaging split fingers, headaches, cuts and abrasions –

all his grandchildren are proud of him,

the great heights he’s aspired to, Japan, Mount Fuji,

reading Yukio Mishima.

 

I think he’s brilliant…

 

He knows the Post Office are straight out of Dickens, strictly English,

somewhere rooted in the nineteenth century, their methods,

working practices, nondescript, opportunist,

boarding school managers, grey, boring,

redundant working practices, employment conditions,

appealing to bullies, liars and cheats –

he knows he’s being offered a full and final pay rise

of 2.5%,

well below the Gordon Brown inflation threshold,

a whole catalogue of disasters about to be inflicted,

changes to the business, supposed flexibility –
all he wants is an increase in proper pay, no lump sums –

Mick Jagger at the Post Office, rubber lips.

 

He’s over fifty-five, undeclaring of his real age –

he’s taking quick drags on his fag in the bus shelter outside,

his trousers turned up to his knees, very trendy,

blue bib and braces, steel toe-caps,

smelling of cheap wine, vinegar and nicotine,

one of his pockets torn, needing stitching,

fading tattoos on his arms, inky blurs,

grabbing his trusty scissors before they hit the floor.

 

He’s got a disintegrating liver which hurts,

his skin tone ugly, sanguine and grey –

he’s religious, doing the Irish Lottery every Saturday,

down at Ladbrokes, ticking the numbers in the relevant boxes,

counting down the days to his eventual retirement,

the prize winning cabbages flourishing on his allotment –

his wife for forty years, Sheila Hancock, a ham actress,

knowing all about the human, slum condition,

having read

Samuel Becket, Waiting For Godot.

 

Plus –

he’s been reading Gogol during his meal reliefs,

munching on cheese and cucumber sandwiches, Hula Hoops,

Dostoyevsky, and other Russian literary greats

 

he’s paying his Income Tax, National Insurance,

Pension Plan C Standard,

paying for his laptop,

his Basic/Gross Pay reduced by £9.14,

not that he knows how to use it –

Mick Jagger at the Post Office, rubber lips.

 

Rockers, mods…

 

His idea of fun is killing everyone –

he’s parking too far away to walk to his car,

all the other drivers, his fellow indoor night workers,

pouring hate, scorn on him –

Bonita, the canteen lady, her son beaten up by Gurkhas.

 


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Simon Robson

Glen Donaldson – Fiction

Falling Like Dominos

 

The senate inquiry into the reasons why pizza had been legislatively classified as a vegetable had been flawed from the beginning. In this part of the country, everyone knew that corruption was synonymous with government. As Shakespeare had written centuries before, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” When Alfonso ‘The Moth’ Esposito III – known equally for his frequent fashion faux pas (super deep v-neck shirts, Disney character ties, square toed dress shoes, unibrow) as he was for being the 29 year old President and CEO of tomato paste giant Grupo Bimbo Foods  –  was revealed as one of the five people appointed to the government commission tasked with unearthing the suspected murky deals that had led to the distrustfully leveraged ruling, many immediately suspected a dough-coloured whitewash.

 

In truth, among The Moth’s conglomerate of food manufacturing firms was a company that acted as the chief supplier of pasta sauce pizza bases to school tuckshops along the entire East Coast.  It was therefore rightly seen that Esposito had much to gain by the FDA’s reclassification and anointing of pizza as a nutritionally sound food staple considered suitable for serving on school premises to the nation’s growing children.

 

Grupo Bimbo was long suspected to have had links with the La Cosa Nostra chapter of the

Sicilian mafia. It was certainly no stranger to allegations of misconduct and using bribes and kickbacks to help secure government and private sector supply contracts and favours. In the 1930’s the company had reinvented bread as a variation on the marshmallow and named it ‘Submarino’, (later to become known as ‘Twinkies’) effectively sidestepping government agency food laws at the time which prevented nutritional tampering with provisions deemed primary food products.

 

More recently the shady corporate had come under the glare of official scrutiny when their

popular ‘diet pizza’ was found to contain toppings that included ear wax and bellybutton lint. They’d also been held to account by no less than NASA (National Advertising Standards Association) for misleading promotion of their $12.95 gluten free pizza (gluten being a protein composite found in barley, rye, wheat and all their hybrids). The company had been forced to clarify that the gluten component of the pizza was included at no extra cost and that it was the other ingredients that constituted the advertised price.

 

The head of this roily food manufacture and supply empire may not have looked  like he

came from central casting, but with his engorged sense of entitlement and what sections of the press had dubbed his ‘Machiavellian narcissism’,  in many other ways he was the perfect poster boy for the selfie/hashtag generation. With pale skin through which you could see the blue of his veins and his watery, unblinking stare, The Moth had a distinctly alien look and a definite air of intrigue about him.

 

Inevitably, with Esposito’s appointment, the commission, only formed after a court overruled several previous efforts by council leaders to spike it, was itself the subject of questioning. By that November, both the flawed original legislation and the commission itself had fallen with the last of the autumn leaves. Police launched Operation Crispy Crust, carrying out 67 search warrants, ending in 15 arrests. The result was a noticeable (though some suggested temporary) disruption and downsizing of Grupo Bimbo’s supply chain and a loosening of its stranglehold monopoly on the pasta sauce and tomato paste industries.

 

Somehow managing to escape prosecution on charges of graft and corruption himself,

Esposito succeeded in airing one of the more memorable quotes in the wash-up to the

inquiry into the inquiry when he was heard to remark “Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” The Supreme Court is still to hear appeals brought forth by Grupo Bimbo’s legal team but it is widely considered they are unlikely to change their minds. As one senator commented –“The happy ending has been delivered and the improper legislation is now a dead animal lying on the bitumen – what I understand in some circles is referred to as ‘road pizza’.”

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Glen Donaldson wishes people had a brightness setting and longs to elevate small talk to medium talk.

 

He has had work published by Jotters United, Positive Words Magazine, GhostStory.com, Tiny Owl Publishing, 101 Fiction, Tokyo Voice Column, Ipswich Life Magazine, Australian Writers Center, Lend Me Your Literacy, Into the Void Magazine, Fictuary, Octavius Magazine, Ether Books, The Binnacle, DesiWriters, The Flash Fiction Press,Cadillac Cicatrix, 81 Words, Wattpad and QWeekend magazine.

 

He is forthcoming in The Bombay Review and Horror After Dark.