DEAR MAN • by William G. Davies Jr.

Dear Man,

Seems funny that water what comes out of this pipe is good for fish. But some say water is all colors. Can water be blue? Green?

I only know this color. Which ain’t no color. And if fish can taste water, they be like me and not like it.

She put the pencil down and studied the dull tip.

A roach scurrying across the windowsill above the sink caught her attention.

She picked the pencil up and chewed the wood back.

Let me see, where was I? I got light to write this but I don’t know for how long. Sometimes I think even if it were dark, my fingers would just know what to do.

But there ain’t no time to write when it gets dark. Other things have to be done.

But for now, HAPPY. Some call that peace. Is it? I don’t know, don’t seem right word.

I like to get back to fish.

Seems to me, they be about a perfect creature. What with no hands to hit nobody, no feet to kick. Just swimming along. And I wouldn’t want to be a big fish, something small. Maybe small enough, nobody notice.

The pencil was wearing down to a nub and she became afraid.

Something streaked past the window. Something big and it hadn’t landed with any sound she was used to.

That means I will now see you in your deep water. Dear Man, I loves you. I think that is the word. I have you fixed in my head. You the big fish (I’m laughing cause I’m going to let you surprise me with your color) I’ll be red, I settled on that.

She tucked the letter in an envelope and licked it closed.

Across the room, the floor showed zig-zags of light where it escaped through a boarded-up window.

She moved quickly, the thought of that light on top of her brightened what she was about to do.

She removed the floorboards carefully. The letter she’d newly written fell from her hand into a cache of them between the joists.

She laid down on top of them. And fitted the slats back together.

In the dark with the floor just above her nose she whimpered.

She sank her hand into the letters and found the syringe. Its tubular body cold, empty. The needle felt coarse, longer than she remembered it.

She placed it on her chest.

The door in the other room was pried open. The faceless, brutal voices started in.

The floorboards creaked and moaned under the footsteps.

Urine dripped all about her as one of them relieved himself.

She positioned the syringe over her heart and with both hands jammed it in while simultaneously collapsing the plunger.

Dear Man,

You didn’t tell me how warm the water would be! Look at my beautiful fins!

Yes! And so much blue! I see something dark, is that you?! Love, me. 

William G. Davies Jr. is 58 years old and lives with his wife, Theresa, in rural Pennsylvania. They bottle their wine as “Rooted Womb”. His favorite author is John Updike, however, “The Grapes Of Wrath” by John Steinbeck is without comparison.

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