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Friday, January 19, 2018


This is the third of three flash fiction pieces by Mitchell Grabois.


I have a fifty-pound bag of Arsenic and DDT, and a round metal canister filled with mercury infused grain, and 55-gallon drums full of mystery liquids left by my grandpa. I am as intimate with chemicals as I am with my wife, and don’t understand either. The mysteries of sex, of emotion, the mysteries of molecules combining: I’m clueless.

The chemicals are mute, secretive. Once released, they do what they must without my permission. If they want to go against my wishes, they do. My wife’s the same way. They can both be caustic. I’ve taken chemicals into the very marrow of my bones, yet despite all my experience, and that of the generations before me, I really know nothing of their nature.

At work, I find Dexter Troutman playing air guitar in the middle of the Day Room. He asks: Remember when we had groupies? Remember when thousands screamed to see us, to touch us? He strums a ripe chord, throws back his head, and sings: See me, feel me, touch me, heal me!

Remember the hotel suites, thousands of square feet of penthouse, each of us floating through our own psychedelic space, the sitarist sitting on the floor in his hairy chest and BVD’s, playing ragas that lasted for days?

I remember, Dexter, I sigh.

Dexter launches into a wild air solo, windmills his strum arm as if he’s morphed from the fab four to the guitar-bashing Who, but he slips on a gob of phlegm Walter Mac Henry has left. (Walter Mac Henry, shirt over his head like an Arab headdress, always hacking and spitting when he’s not pissing into the Day Room heater)

Dexter Troutman slips and goes down, hits his head on the linoleum-covered cement. Out cold. I gently take his guitar from where it lays across his body and play a few bars of Let It Be before I rush to the Chart Room for help.


Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over twelve-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes.  His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.

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