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Thomas Bailey
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THERE HE IS AGAIN

 

Thomas Bailey

 

There he is again, that guy standing by the barbeque drinking out of a plastic cup and peering out from a shit pair of sunglasses at our apartment complex’s swimming pool; this is like the fifth time I’ve seen him about and I can’t help but notice he never talks to anyone; he just wanders around, drinking from his blue cheap-ass cup and watching people, shuffling around in yellow sandals and a gaudy Hawaiian shirt and scratching his patchy beard as if in the midst of a reverie or some bullshit and once again I wonder What’s he doing here and I’m curious if anyone else is thinking the same—surely Holly and her flatmate Fiona, oiled up and sunning themselves in iridescent bikinis (it’s well-known amongst the residents of Arapaho Springs that they’re exotic dancers at the Million Dollar Gentlemen’s Club, but I’ve never paid them a visit) would have good reason to be suspicious of this trespasser, but no one seems to bat an eye at this stranger in our midst, we who’ve called this place home since it opened six years ago, and then I think maybe he’s a dope dealer —more than a few times I’ve whiffed the stench of skunk waft through hallways and my open window and I see some of the guys—wait staff at the Argentinian steakhouse around the corner—lurking in a cluster behind the cabana passing around a joint (they never ask me to join them) and smirking at the children splashing in the shallows, and there’s a sudden whoop of joy from the barbeque as Jerry the fireman lights the briquettes and he pats his wife Tracy’s ass while he sets up hot dogs and chicken wings on a table, cracking open a beer and laughing at something she whispers in his ear and I realise the mysterious guy isn’t standing by the barbeque anymore—where’d he go?—and when I see him again he’s moved to the other side of the pool and now he’s alone at the eastern gate, still surveying all before him as if he owns the fucking place and for some reason I don’t think it would be a good idea for him to catch me staring (I remember that time Holly caught me staring at her tits and I felt like such a pervert), but why should I be nervous—after all, this is where I live and he’s just some weirdo and I’m thinking I should just straight up confront him, you know, but shit he’s disappeared again and I’m panicking and trying to find him—I need to know where he is, I don’t know why—and there’s that gay couple Ed and Ed, the graphic designers who got married last summer (I wasn’t invited) and I nearly piss my pants when just like that I feel a hand on my shoulder and I turn and it’s him, it’s that fucking guy, and he motions with his head for me to follow him and so I do and we leave the pool by the western gate and walk to Building 7 and head up the metal staircase to the landing where there’s an open door halfway down the hall—he enters and I follow him into an air-conditioned flat containing nothing but a Formica table and a computer where he sits down and takes his sunglasses off—his eyes look tired and sad as he points at the screen and I say, “What are you, some kind of writer?” and I look and I see the last sentence he’s written: “And then [character] says, ‘What are you, some kind of writer?’” and I feel ice course through my veins and my back and my skin and I can only stare at him as he says to me, “Sorry, you didn’t make the cut” and I’m just about to ask him what the fuck that means when he lifts his finger and puts it on the delete button and before I can do anything to stop him or ask for one more chance please come on man just one more chance he pushes it down and






Thomas Bailey is a freelance music journalist and editor way down in Melbourne, Australia. 



Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/ 

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