When Bob Johnson arrived home from work, he found his dog, Mabel – a wire haired terrier – in bed with the postman.
“Hi there, Bob!” shouted the postman cheerily, saluting Bob with a half-finished bottle of Beaujolais nouveau. He was still wearing his bright red postman’s cap. There was a thick mat of curly black hairs on his bare chest.
“Woof!” Mabel said.
After his second divorce, Bob Johnson sat and watched television alone every night in his now nearly-empty living room. Eventually, it dawned on him that every television drama featured really handsome men who were going through divorces of their own, but who were much handsomer than Bob. The white men were handsomer, the black men were handsomer, the Asian men were handsomer, and even the men from races that Bob couldn’t quite identify were handsomer. It didn’t seem fair.
Bob disconnected the television and the cable box and went to bed that night feeling a little better than he had felt previously.
And in the morning, awoke dreaming of Corn Flakes.
OVER A BARREL
Bob Johnson was a Pisces who really hated Virgos. He wouldn’t allow them in his house; he was rude if they dated his friends; and he refused to hire them for even menial positions at his cardboard box distribution company that operated out of his basement. He knew that there were plenty of Pisces who quite liked Virgos, but that’s not the sort of Pisces Bob was. He made a decision and stuck to it. Not like some people.
One day he met Sylvia while sorting his white socks at the corner laundromat. She was everything Bob had ever looked for in a woman. Long shining blonde hair, blue eyes, long legs, and a smell of citrus and freshly-sawed lumber–which were, of course, Bob’s favorite smells in the entire world. And as if she knew what was about to happen before he did, she asked: “Hi, hon. What’s your sign?”
Without a second thought, Bob replied, “I won’t tell if you won’t.” The decorative theme of their wedding was “Tahitian Sunrise.”
Scott Bradfield is a novelist, short story writer and critic. Works include The History of Luminous Motion, Dazzle Resplendent: Adventures of a Misanthropic Dog, and The People Who Watched Her Pass By. Stories and reviews have appeared in Triquarterly, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Baffler, and numerous “best of” anthologies. He lives in California and London.
He has stories and essays forthcoming in The Weird Fiction Review, The New Statesman, and Flash Fiction Magazine.