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Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Issue One

          August 2016

Fiction

Dark Butterflies

     Black butterflies cover the sun, the ones who practiced synchronized flying and studied philosophy at foreign institutes. They possess intent, not merely instinct. They read Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and, finally, Mein Kampf. They spent summers hovering over the works of Ayn Rand, page corners weighed down with sand.

 

     The sight of the black butterflies reading at the beach had biblical weight; a weight in the head like a cinder block, with the same rough texture. Everyone fled. We got in our metal-flaked convertibles and drove home, reconvened in our old bomb shelters, disgusted with what butterflies had become, and what we had become.

 

     You take me to the Gate Café. I've forgotten how to eat like a human being. I’ve forgotten how to eat real food, forgotten how to use a fork and knife and how to drink out of a glass. The realization that I can see through glass is overpowering. The other diners watch me— they are ready with hidden buzzers to call out the murderers and rapists, the black butterflies, ready to call the Dobermans to rip my throat out, to take my voice and leave me grunting at the moon. They are ready to drain my blood and replace it with chlorine. I have served my time in the Olympics, but they are not satisfied. They want more, more than I can give. They want to chain me to a lane.

 

     My body is as stretched and dry as the Nile Delta. I am one more Cleopatra who’s been ruined by the world. My cunt is legendary among the other patients in this asylum.

 

     These other diners, the lowlifes who inhabit this café night and day like zombies who never leave, who have no home—they are ready to agitate every synapse in my brain, shake my brain like a can of paint in a paint-shaking machine until the only words that make sense are my own, and they don’t make sense either.

 

     If you leave me alone, I will be meat for their pit bulls. When you go to the bathroom I am terrified and throw all our food on the floor. The black butterflies will find and suffocate me.

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and Queen’s Ferry Press’s Best Small Fictions for work published in 2011 through 2015. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.