Job. Life in general.

No mail. No messages.

Stubbed toe. Shit for television.

Devon Remus shook violently. His face grew hot. Steam billowed from his ears like a cartoon. Sweat forced its way through his pores so quickly all the hair fell off of his arms, legs, crotch, and armpits.

His vision warped and he exploded.

Gore rained down over his new sofa.

The television spit blue sparks throughout the room.

His feet alone remain intact, still standing up in their boots, the only remains, a thin stream of smoke issuing from the bleeding ankles. Bits of a bloodied work shirt clung to the Rabbit ears atop the television. The hands of the clock spin exceptionally fast. They become a blur of motion. He switches from present tense, to past and future.

For a fleeting moment he knows peace.

Deep inside a calm like the ocean spreading out beyond anyone’s field of vision.

Fleeting moments flit away, burnt paper from a campfire, butterfly wings.

Heaven is a rented apartment. You cannot stay indefinitely.

Soon, he is curled into a ball beneath the sofa. Dustballs fly overhead and curse him to get out of their way. He is buffeted on all sides by cockroaches the size of minivans.

He has been scaled down to size.

He vomits up a healthy portion of shimmering blue paint; the heavy smell of chemicals floods his nostrils. His feet get tangled up in the tall carpet fibers.

A cockroach walks up behind him and bites his head off. It rolls under a mammoth potato chip. His body stumbles drunkenly over to retrieve it.

The puddle of blue paint begins to gurgle and splat the underside of the sofa with tiny blue specks. The specks remind him of skid marks. He laughs until his sides split and a river of blue paint pours out along with several of his ribs. Looking closer he realizes the ribs are made of toothpicks.

A cockroach that had been busy chewing away at the potato chip picks up one of the ribs and begins picking bits of potato chip from its pincers.

“Mind if I use this?” it asks in a cartoon falsetto.

Devon shakes his head in his hands.

“No,” he says. “Be my guest.”

He does not feel angry anymore.

"Under the Couch"

Copyright: © 2011 Dustin Reade


Dustin Reade is a funeral Director-in-training. He lives in Port Angeles, Washington with his three-year-old daughter, Percephone, and their rat, Michael Jackson. He has been published in several anthologies, as well as a handful of magazines. He likes the rain and gloom of the Pacific Northwest, and will not be moving anytime soon.

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