A simple premise; a bold promise
To present one story per day, every day—providing exceptional authors with exposure and avid readers with first-rate fiction.


I staggered to my feet, tasting blood on the bottom of my lip. A crude harmony of mocking laughter peppered the air around me. Struggling to regain my equilibrium I realized that I had never been punched like that before. Ever. Not even once, forget twice.

“Look at him. He dropped like a ton of pussies.”

“Haha. Yeah.”

The taunts only served to warp the situation against me. I finally get my body fully erect again when I glance over to my right and see Carla, standing there against the bar’s ‘Happy Hour’ sign, looking on at the ruckus she helped create. Short raven-black hair and deep, comforting eyes, she has her hands nervously tucked into her oversized sweatshirt sleeves; a wracked, neutral spectator ready to rain sympathy on whoever the losing side was. And that was unequivocally me, at the moment.

“Stop looking at her, dickhole,” says the bullish lesbian that just slugged me in the face. She’s wearing a Broome Community College Rugby t-shirt. “That’s what got you in trouble in the first place.”

“I didn’t mean anything by it,” I respond. “We were just talking…”

“Yeah and you got caught,” the bull snaps back.

“Not all dykes hang out at dyke bars you dumbshit,” adds one of the bull’s two mulletted cronies.

“It was harmless,” I continue to plead.

“I saw how she was laughing with you,” the bull mentions. She turns to the passive Carla. “You never laugh like that with me.”

Carla just shrugs.

“You got nothing to say to that?” the bull persists.

“Just…stop hurting him,” Carla finally answers.

“What? It was barely anything.”

“He’s bleeding,” Carla entreaties.

The three dykes laugh amusedly at this.

“Yeah. He is bleeding,” one of them chimes.

I muster up a somewhat forceful, if delayed, response. “Listen, I’m not fighting any of you. This is ridiculous.”

“Why don’t you want to fight?” the bull asks, amused.

“Because… I don’t want to fight a woman. What man does?”

The bull storms over to me after I finish this thought and grabs me by the collar. “I’m twice the man you are, motherfucker,” she sneers.

“I agree,” I respond through constriction.

She punches me in the gut with unmerciful force and drops me to the ground writhing. The bull then stands over me as I struggle to catch my breath. “Now I can be a real man and piss on your back.”

I cough and spit up a little. I hear the other two dykes laugh.

“He dropped like a ton of pussies again!”

“Listen,” the bull growls at me while she looming over my battered body, “I don’t feel like kicking your ass anymore. I want to go drink beer. So I’m going to walk inside the bar now and do just that. If I see you come back in that place, this is all happening again. But this time I’m also going to rub dogshit in your face. Okay?”


The bull nods at the other two and they follow her into the bar. As she strolls past Carla she asks, “You coming in or what?”

“I’m just going to have a cigarette,” Carla murmurs.

“Well, hurry up,” the bull orders. The trio continues inside.

Carla pulls out a pack of Marlboros and walks over to where I was crouched. She holds out the pack to me. “Cigarette?”

“I can barely breathe as it is.”

She sheepishly puts one in between her lips. “I’m really sorry about all of this.”

“No, no” as I struggle to my feet again with her slight assistance, “it’s not like this was your fault at all. Oh wait, I’m sorry. It was totally your fault.”

“I didn’t think she was going to show up here, I swear.”

“So are you straight or not?”

“I’m bisexual. Although Stephanie is my first steady girlfriend.”

“Stephanie? Huh. She doesn’t seem like a Stephanie.” I spit some more. “She’s very protective of you. I’ll remember that when I’m shitting blood later. I’ll think, ‘She’s very protective, that one.’”

She takes a long, expert drag. “We’ve been together three years now.”

“So, if you don’t want to be with her…”

“It’s not that.”

I look at her.

She shrugs and looks down. “I don’t know.”

“You came up to me, frankly, like you were very single.”

“I wanted to think that, I wanted to feel that way.” She takes another drag while peeking back at the bar. “She’s done so much for me. I mean, I had no place to go when I met her. No one in my life that gave a shit about me.”

I hold out my hand dismissively. “Spare me the sentimental origins. You led me on. I thought I had a great spark in there with you. I didn’t know you from a hole in the wall, but I felt like I was getting to know everything about you very quickly. Turns out I did!” I exhale. We pause. “Just forget it.”

“No,” she peeks back at the bar again before continuing. “Don’t forget it.”

“I’m forgetting it.” I gesture towards the bar. “What can one man do against such reckless lesbianism?”

“Well,” she suggests with a gleam in her eye. “If you feel that strongly about me…you can fight for me.”


“You can fight for my honor.”

I start to laugh but stop because it really hurt to laugh. “That’s quite a romantic notion and all–“

“You really like me?”

“I just met you.”


I check for more blood on my lip.

“It’s dried up already,” she points out.

“Look, I’m just not the type of guy beautiful, fun, down-to-earth women like yourself randomly come up to in bars and initiate things with. I’m just not.”

“You’re a handsome man with a kind face.”

“I’m not that handsome where a woman could walk by and feel compelled not to continue being a complete stranger to me.”

“I think you are,” she says softly.

We both look at each other, and through the blurred vision in my walloped right eye I feel that connection again. The one we felt inside that bar before all hell broke loose and I was left internally bleeding probably.

She leans into me. “Fight for me.”

“I just got my ass kicked by a girl.”

“She’s no girl. And you didn’t even try to hit her.”

“It doesn’t feel right.”

“Does this?” She proceeds to kiss me on the lips. I get lost in it for a moment until reason hits and I back away a little.

“Are you trying to get me killed? I don’t want to be another chalk-mark on your girlfriend’s body count wall.”

She smirks, tilting her head at me. “When was the last time you got laid?”

“When was the last time I got laid?”

“Don’t delay an answer by repeating the question.”

I chuckle nervously. “You don’t want to know. And I don’t want to remind myself.”

“Just tell me.”


“C’mon, I already saw you get your ass kicked by a girl,” she teases. “What could be worse than that?”

I stammer still.

“It can’t be longer than me.”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s longer than you.”

“Believe it or not, even though I’ve been in this relationship, I’ve had a long dry spell. I mean does Stephanie look like she has a penis?”

“What do you mean? It’s probably bigger than mine.”

She laughs, quietly but hard.

I finally concede. “It’s been…well, it’s been over a year.”

“Wow. Really?”

“See. I’m pathetic. I’m a loser.”

She abruptly smacks me across the face. “Don’t ever call yourself that.”

I rub my cheek. “Oh, I’ve called myself much worse things than ‘loser.’”

She smacks me again. This time a little firmer. “That’s for those other things you’ve called yourself too.”

“Okay. Jesus.”

One of the crony dykes peeks her head outside. “Hey Carla. Steph wants you now. She says stop being a bleeding heart and give her cash for another round.”

Carla doesn’t look back. “I’ll be right in.”

The crony smiles and shakes her head at me, then goes back inside.

Carla leans in to me again. “Fight for me. Let’s put both of our droughts to an end.” She kisses me quickly on the lips once more then turns around and goes in the bar. She glances back at me before finally entering. I’m left standing alone, thinking to myself.

I think of all the lonely nights in my apartment: the Cheeto stains on my bed sheets, the disturbing foreign porn that I watch for hours on end without even touching myself, the fruitless scouring of personal ads on Craigslist, the sitting and staring at nothing with no music playing. Long solitary periods of time where you start to think nobody could ever possibly come around to giving a damn about your existence. And worse, that you accept this fact, and you go on with a forced serenity that just maybe this is your lot in life. You joke with friends and family about it, you make self-deprecating wisecracks to mask the true hopelessness you feel, but moments hit every now and again that can’t be overcome by jest; that make you realize you have to do something.

My light-headed contemplations are interrupted by a haggard voice.

“Do you have any change, boss? Nickel, Quarter? Preferably a quarter.”

I turn around and see a very homeless individual with a disgusting beard and one shoe on his foot. He stank of a mix between death and spoiled milk. He was reviling, but had a stewed vibrancy about him. Someone you’d certainly want running away from you and not coming at you. Then it hit me.

“How about instead of a quarter, I give you twelve dollars…and you help me kick somebody’s ass?.”

He turns away for a few seconds in muddled thought. “Is it another homeless person? Cuz I done too many of those already.”

A battle-tested mercenary. “Nope. This person has a home.”

He shrugs and rasps, “Sure. Fine. Even if I get arrested I’ll be inside for a bit.”

“That’s the spirit.”

I put my arm shamelessly around his shoulders. He felt kind of filmy. I lead him into the bar. “Then after the job is done, I’ll buy you a drink.”

“The last time someone bought me a drink, I had to blow him.” He looks at me and smiles something hideous. “This’ll be much easier.”

“We’ll see.”

I proceed to walk head high into the bar with loyal reinforcements at my side, ready to win the hand of a lady. Now I know what chivalry means. I looked it up right before I sat down to write this story. It means ‘the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.’ None of those things describe what I was doing in the least. But still, at that moment, I felt chivalrous. Proudly. Erroneously.


Joe Thristino is an award-nominated playwright.  His most recent play, Helicopters, has had three performances is set to be produced by Alpha Tree Productions.


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page