The Sting

The Sting by

Today, Alice tells herself that she and Randy have fallen off the edge. Like Humpty Dumpty. But she’s not sure who is really smashed. Driving through a sparse center of town, she tells herself that the relationship was only a total of five hours of foreplay, one hour of Reader’s Digest sex, and a whole day of trying to cheer him up with just the right pink prose. Something as pretty as a swallow. When it came to sex, Randy was as exciting as a fallen leaf.

Alice once told him that he made frog faces whenever he almost came.

“How would you know that I almost came,” he said. His eyes like tiny dark insects that a swallow could devour.

She recalls the summer her father saved her from bee stings and nerdy overly-needy boys who failed at the back stroke, even in smooth warm waters. Were they afraid to close their eyes and trust their bodies to stay afloat?

Alice decides to toss her photos of Randy, except for one. It’s the one where he looks like James Dean, so cool in a dark turtleneck, the camera shot at a low angle. To Alice, both he and Dean will live forever in their respective photos.

Alice parks her silver Honda and walks briskly into a Dunkin ’ Donuts. She orders a medium mocha latte with whipped cream. She drinks through a straw. Yes, she tells herself that she really didn’t love Randy at all. He was just someone, somebody to be around. She was recovering from some nasty bee stings.

She watches from her table as a red Corvette whizzes past in a 25 mph zone. For a second she entertains the flaky notion that it could be James Dean. No, she self-corrects, just someone who could pass for him.




Kyle Hemmings has work published in Right Hand Pointing, Sonic Boom, Unbroken Journal, and elsewhere. He loves street photography and 60s garage bands.



Image by Kyle Hemmings



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