By J. Bradley
Neil uses me as a booster seat, grips the steering wheel. “You know what to do, right,” Neil asks.
It’s easy to bind an imaginary friend with duct tape. You picture yourself stretching strips of various lengths, tearing them off the roll. You bind the wrists first, then the ankles, finally the mouth.
“Where are we hiding the body,” I ask.
Neil kicks my shin with his heel. I’m only here to help him navigate, help him dig, help him forget.
The first time the clipping of scissors woke me up, I finally understood why my hair wouldn’t grow past my ears. My father placed a finger to my lips, “Go back to sleep.” The next morning, I found a fading halo of my hair on my pillow. We agreed it was a weird dream.
The Internet tells me how to keep Neil from waking up. He’ll eventually ask why his hair never grows past his ears. It’s genetic, I’ll say, like my father, and his father before, and his father before, and his father before.
J. Bradley’s is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer, and the forthcoming prose poetry chapbook, It Is A Wild Swing Of A Knife (Choose the Sword Press, 2015). He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.
Art by Jane McNichol
Jane was visiting her niece, Quinn McNichol, a local Lancaster artist. This is a painting of her on a winter day in Lancaster. Quinn attened PCAD and has settled in Lancaster as a working artist. Jane lives and works in NYC. Her website is www.janemcnichol.com