Marie Gethins

He shouted, ‘What the hell?’ filling his boot with beer as I headed towards the exit

A first date at the South American Food Fest should have tipped me off. He promised square dancing and a deep-fry banquet. I starched my best blue gingham—fifteen-layers of net under the skirt with lacy bike shorts to match—polished my white western go-go boots. Told him I’d have a hamster puppet for ID. This old man in red shit-kickers sauntered up. I nearly died. ‘You’re a bit older than your profile pic.’ He smiled, said something about being able to burn the floor with his do-si-do better than any 20-year-old ranch hand. I reckoned might as well eat since it’s on him. We loaded up plates, sat down. Craziest barbeque I ever did see with teeny-tiny drumsticks. ‘What’s this?’ I held one up. He said, ‘guinea pig’ and laughed so hard his teeth fell out. I ducked under the table with my puppet and a fist-full of paper-napkins. A little hamster mouth nipping along the inside of his thigh. ‘Yeehaw,’ he whispered between the picnic table boards, while I stuffed one of his boots right full. Lighter aflame, I set that shit-kicker burning.

Marie Gethins’ flash appeared in NFFD Anthologies, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Banshee, Mslexia, Jellyfish Review, Fictive Dream, Litro, NANO, FlashBack Fiction, Wales Arts Review, Synaesthesia, The Incubator, The Nottingham Review, Spelk, Ellipsis Zine, Words with JAM, Paper Swans, 101 Words, and others. Selected for Best Microfiction 2021, Marie also is a Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Short Fictions nominee and an editor of the Irish ezine Splonk.