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Today's Story by Michael Derby

She clenches her eyes on his in the parking lot as she drops a finger from his neck tattoo to his belt buckle.

Nobody Does it Better

Bass fingers the strings, passably, while her thrift-store-pleather and ripped-fishnet sex struts about the stage. Drummer misses the beat when coming back in from a roll because he was staring at her ass and never have good rhythm anyway. Lead Singer ignores her all set out of hate-love and spite, and knowing he’ll fuck her after – having seen her eyes circle the small crowd and land back on him with a concerted but restrained, “Goose.” There’s an unsolicited, two-song encore featuring a sped-up, power-chord cover of “Nobody Does it Better.” Rail drinks after are free for the band at the club’s ill-stocked bar and when Lead Singer looks at Bass, a voice in his head repeats, “You’re the fucking lead singer!” – at first loud to get his attention but it soon lends itself toward sycophancy. The Old Crow helps him believe. She clenches her eyes on his in the parking lot as she drops a finger from his neck tattoo to his belt buckle with a gentle pull as she walks toward his car, letting the metal slap back against a lower abdomen she’d just ripped a few hairs from. Her eyes were turned before he winced but he saw the malice behind them – her intuition of his insecurity, inferiority. The hate-fucking that should be his triumph demoralizes as she shouts, “Harder, harder!” He cums into a ribbed condom, exhausted. Looking down at the peach rubber, he pretends he is avoiding her eyes and not the confirmation that they’re not looking at him but through the particle-board top drawer of her dresser, at a purple vibrator with polka-dotted white stars.


Michael Derby is a graduate assistant at Southeast Missouri State University. He has been published in PANK and the Chariton Review (upcoming) among other places. Though for some reason he always thought of himself as a writer, he held off on actually producing anything until he was 28 to avoid getting super famous and dying tragically at 27.


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