301 Moved Permanently

301 Moved Permanently


Southern Noir Teaches Someone a Lesson in Manners

Illustration by Ryan Heshka.

Illustration by Ryan Heshka.


Amor Non Tenet Ordinem


Unlike your best friend

Leaning back on the stairwell railing beside you,

Who’s visiting you

In the high-rise apartment building

Where you now live,

Who’s visiting you from out of town,

Visiting you from the town where you used to live

Before some whore

Ripped off not only you

But all your friends, including this guy,

Your “best friend”—

Before some whore ripped you all off

And you lost your job over it

Because your boss and co-workers (friends, that is)

Weren’t understanding, and you moved

Away, left in shame and ignominy . . .

Unlike your best friend,

You can’t look at the young lady

Smoking at the other end of the hall,

With hair that looks like something out of MOMA,

And say as casual as you please, “Yeah, I’d do her.”

Which means not only can you fuck her,

But you’re going to fuck her,

So hard the tiles will fall down in the neighbour’s shower,

Fuck her while looking down at her

Swollen and discoloured face,

Where her boyfriend has beaten her

Head against the doorjamb in their flat

Before taking all the money she earned

The past two weeks of night shifts at the convenience store

And gambling it away in some kind of revenge

For miscarrying their baby—Yeah,

Fuck her until you decide to do something

About her asshole boyfriend,

Only she beats you to it, kills the son of a bitch

By herself. So you help her

Dispose of the body.

I mean, of course you do.

You wanted the asshole dead

Just as much as she did, if not more.

What I’m saying is, he beat up her, not you,

And you still thought about killing him.

See what I mean?

Anyway, there you are,

Out on the back of a mountain,

In your car’s headlights, pouring rain,

Thunder and lightning,

You’re shoveling,

She’s standing and watching,

Staring at something 1000 yards away.

Back in your apartment (not hers)

You’re fucking, you’re fucking

The shit out of her,

Or you think

You’re fucking the shit out of her,

Or you’re trying to, at least.

Somehow, she’s still really far away.

But you don’t even notice.

Okay, what I said earlier, about you two

Fucking—that was wrong.

This, right now, post-murder, post-corpse disposal,

This is the first time

You two have had sex.

See? There goes the tile

In the neighbour’s shower.

You two are fucking

With all the pent-up energy

Of two crazy and lonely people

Guilty of murder, albeit well-deserved.

She’s taking everything you’ve got

And giving it back, giving herself

In just exactly the way you’d expect

Of a twenty-seven-year-old-woman with a face

Like someone had been using her to stop line drives.


Past an overheard conversation

She has with her ex-best friend

Who can’t comprehend

Or accept what she’s done

(Murder, infidelity)

(You were eavesdropping).

In a motel beside the highway,

It ends the way it began:

Misunderstanding, hurt feelings,

Defenses go up.

Faster than you can blink,

You strangle her with the scarf she gave you

A week and a half after the murder.

The backside of the mountain

Again. Rain, digging in the headlights.

What did you expect?

I mean, she was your half-sister.



From subTerrain #68 (Pulp Fiction)

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