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Flash Fiction
290 words
SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017


by Mitchell Krockmalnick Grabois

My wife stayed angry about my affair. The space between us in the king bed was like the Midwest, at least Nebraska.

No one was buying deli. There were no ancient Jews to disturb him. Country Joe McDonald swept the floor and wrote a song in his mind.

My wife’s cold loins summoned opportunistic female spirits who had been in transit between the defiled Temple of Jerusalem and the ghettoes of Eastern Europe and swung wide to find me, to find me by the scent of her somnolent hatred and the sourdough starter she’d left to spoil on the granite countertop that was as dark and layered as a Midwest thunderstorm.

And it’s one-two-three what are we fightin’ for? Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn. Next stop is Viet Nam!

Those concubine spirits lowered themselves onto me, took my stiff dick through their humid portals into desert realms where camels had trampled the tribesmen to death and now called the shots.

A wave of kids rushed in, pawed the ice cream counter glass, left grease marks that disgusted Country Joe. All the bacteria in the world—soon they’d be resistant to antibiotics. Joe was a visionary.

None of it made sense to me. Carnality had set me a terrible trap, original sin all over again. My mistress wasn’t even anything special.

We toast ourselves with chocolate milk, Joe thought, from antibiotic-filled cows. We eat burgers smothered in antibiotic secret sauce.

The concubine spirits took my seed and bore children who formed their own militia and, after I died, spent their lives in the woods hatching ever more twisted conspiracy theories and firing assault rifles into the leafy green trees. And it’s one-two-three what are we fightin for?


—Lyrics from the iconic anti-war anthem, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag,” by Country Joe and the Fish:

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.

Words and music by Country Joe McDonald, copyrighted 1965 and renewed 1993 by Alkatraz Corner Music; used by permission from Bill Belmont.

—“Carnality” appears here with permission from Mitch Grabois; previous versions of this story are published as “Copper Wire” in The Airgonaut (30 April 2016) and “A Cloud of Nitrous” in The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society (Volume 1, Issue XII, November 2014).

SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

Mitchell Krockmalnick Grabois

lives in Denver, Colorado, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions for work published in 2011 through 2015. His poems and fictions are widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Two-Headed Dog, his novel based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, and as a print edition.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury