by Vincent Poturica
The Secret of the Chihuahuas
(Above is the Chihuahuas’ secret written in code. I don’t know what it means. But I watched Taco, my girlfriend’s Chihuahua, digging his nail carefully into his paw then marking a paper napkin on the floor with deliberate bloody spots. I’d woken up to go the bathroom when I saw him. Unfortunately, when Taco noticed me staring, he quickly devoured the napkin then barked, as if to say: You will never understand. Luckily, my memory is sharp and I transcribed what I’d seen on the napkin in my journal. Any translation tips would be appreciated. Many lives may be saved.)
Hate is not an ugly word, but it is lazy. Like your sister’s ex-boyfriend who lives in the bushes near the river. We used to drink Robitussin together. Sometimes he’d call me Josephine even though my name is Thomas.
Most people are full of shit, which doesn’t change the fact that I am nothing.
You think you’re tough, but I have no arms. The doctors shouldn’t have given me a chainsaw to cut my baked potato.
The New Robot Literature
I’m teaching my robot how to write.
He’s a quick study.
I figure in a few weeks he’ll have a novel.
I’ve been teaching him plot, character, and setting.
I’ve been stressing theme.
I keep telling him to write a happy story.
Something to make the world a better place.
A poor boy wins the lottery.
A blind woman talks to dolphins.
An ex-con starts a school for pregnant teens.
Happy endings are important.
But I wonder if happiness is possible without food.
If words are enough to survive on.
I’ve been happy and hungry at the same time.
But not for very long.
My robot doesn’t eat.
Vincent Poturica lives with his wife in Long Beach, California, where he teaches at local community colleges. His writing appears or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM; Forklift, Ohio; New England Review; and Western Humanities Review.