Ice pops. Can you believe it? He replaced me with ice pops.
Me, and . . . booze.
Soon’s he quit drinking, my husband Ricky froze, like a human popsicle.
Three in a box, they came, but he ate the cherry ones first. Then orange. He hated
“They taste,” he said, sneering, “like your lipstick.” He hadn’t
tasted my grape-y lips, or any of me, in almost a year.
Two years back, he loved sucking on them, lipstick, or not. Like,
at that karaoke bar, where we met, the neon flamingo bathing us in rosy light. More
thirty, than forty, we looked, that night. Ricky, with his almost-black eyes,
and sexy goatee.
“’All . . . my love,’” he sang, looking right at me. “Unchained
Melody.” Around us, chicks watched him, dreamy-eyed.
“’If I can’t have you,’” I sang, thinking of my ex, but
Ricky, who still had his mic.
“’I don’t want nobody. . .’” With this smug look, he joined
that old Dusty Springfield song was his.
What balls, I thought. Maybe. Except for fucking him, I’d
blacked out most of that night.
Sure, I drank too much. Blacked out a lot. Bruises all over. And
DUIs. Last one, they almost sent me back to driving school! Ricky was disgusted.
Hey, once he stopped fucking me, I needed some fun.
Way back, we fucked, nonstop. Sometimes, we’d forget to eat.
Now, he ate like a pig, but stayed lean, despite all those ice pops. Sherbert,
he loved, too. All our spoons were bent backwards.
Yeah, he was stressed. So was I, when I’d worked. But instead of
drinking to relieve stress, he blamed shit on me.
Holding his delicate nose when I came home late. Like I hadn’t showered
“You smell,” he said, “like booze.”
And bedtime? He slept so far away from me, he might’ve fallen out
of bed, and cracked his skull.
Ice pops. All over the trailer, were sticks. Most stained blood-red,
and stuck to something: kitchen table, nightstand.
The freezer door slammed. “Samantha!” I cringed, when he yelled to
me. “There’s no more cherry. All that’s left,” he said, “are orange and . . .”
“Grape!” I screamed. “Grape! Grape!”
“They keep me,” he said, through clenched teeth, “from picking
One day at a time. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
All A.A. talk. Like a parrot,
spouting age-old knowledge from other dry, self-righteous fucks. Ninety
meetings, had been his goal, in ninety days.
How proud they all were, when he made it.
Soon, he’d have a year.
Or, would he?
He didn’t know I knew. That he was “thirteen-stepping.” With some
Mouse, he called her, though she had some girly first name. Gabrielle?
Nah, Giselle, like the ballet. In a tutu, I pictured her, stumbling across the
stage. A real loser.
But, loser or not, this pigeon came first. Even before ice pops.
“A friend,” he lied, when she kept calling. “From the rooms.”
The rooms . . .
Those whispered phone calls . . . abrupt hang-ups. That smug look
he got each time I caught him.
Crazy as it was, I still loved him. And even crazier, I believed
he loved me.
When you’re sober, and get bad news, you drink. Soon as booze hits
you, you’re OK. Maybe for an hour. Even ten minutes drunk beats facing it dry.
But when you’re trashed first, and you find out . . .
How much more trashed can you get?
At Boxer’s Brew, I was, almost seeing double, when she came in.
That gut feeling, when she headed toward me: tiny; mousy; geeky wire-framed glasses.
She’d left the tutu home.
Soft-spoken. Couldn’t hear her over White Zombie. The crack of
balls on the pool table made her jump. I was glad.
Finally, she had to yell. “I’m Ricky’s friend! Can’t say from
where!” The pigeon.
Staring at her, I downed my beer.
“He loves you, a lot.” She smiled, sadly. “More than he loves
Deep inside me, something clicked. Like my safety got shut off.
I grabbed my car keys. If
she wasn’t wearing glasses, I’d’ve gouged out her eyes. I got up, fast.
She followed me outside.
“Keeps trying to leave you!” Behind me, she burst into sobs. “But
Yellow Mama, I’d named our ’69 Camaro. My ’69 Camaro. After
Alabama’s electric chair. Despite DUIs, and the time I’d missed that tree by inches,
my mustard-yellow baby was a safe ride.
Till that night.
As she wailed, her tiny fists pounded on my car. I was inside,
and it roared alive.
Like a fool, she threw herself on the hood. Thinking that would
As I took off, blood thumped in my ears. Drowned out that thud,
like when a monster deer greets you.
No deer around here, the cops might’ve said, later.
If not for Ricky.
My mess he was stuck cleaning up, out of love: fenders and grille
ruby-red, and sticky. Like from all those cherry ice pops he’d eaten.
In the grille, like bent-backwards spoons, were the wire frames
from her glasses. The lenses might’ve cracked beneath her.
Her mangled body was way behind me as I drove home . . .
My mind a complete blank.
Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks
like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so
needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants. She’s been
published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A
Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E,
Dark Dossier, and Twisted Sister.
She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a
Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate.
A. F. Knott is a self-taught
collage artist focused on book layout and book cover design as well networking
in conjunction with Hekate Publishing, one of its missions, bringing together artist and
writer. Sometimes seen selling in New York City's Union Square Park. Work can be found
exchange of ideas welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org