“Up and Off” by William Blome

Andrew the Everyman by himself wasn’t going to do it, that’s for sure, so he had you and me lift a little colt straight up and off the ground while he hurriedly laid down four empty whiskey bottles. Then he had us lower the pony as he scrambled to place a bottle under each hoof. If I hadn’t been there helping out, I wouldn’t have believed how scared the young horse was at first (this kind of shivering-in-place), and, at the same time, how rigid and still the animal quickly became when he had to balance himself precariously on the fifths. (He was soon hardly moving at all).

The seconds ticked on, and I grew convinced Andrew—and then youwere right, that we were all in an extended moment of rare good luck, and that for as long as the little horse stayed tranquil, most anything we wished for might well be granted. So to speak, we all simultaneously rubbed the lamp, and not surprisingly, the Everyman went for the outsized and grandiose: he opted to drive by himself in a vintage 1953 Buick Roadmaster high up into La Paz and there be coronated King of all the Bolivias. You, understandably, had a sweet, elderly slave appear and slowly and expertly comb and braid your pubic hair; then she shoe-polished your areolas to an even darker brown; and then I think she surprised you by stroking your fingers again and again until she could slide into place three rings of unknown metals and settings. I, not wanting to rebel or stray very far from character, demanded only of a passing cloud that I always be held free from pestilence, and that I eternally remain a teenage male with a penis off of Milton Berle and the scrotum sack that once hung down from Seattle Slew.

But, lordy, it was awfully tough for me to stay objective in front of this frightened beast who somehow kept magically balancing himself on dark green bottles of vanished booze, and I’d guess that roughly two or so long, long minutes after our careful placement, the horse did jump up and off on all-fours and gallop away.

But for what it’s worth, to this day Bolivians do smilingly recognize Andrew as their heavy-footed and speeding King, and you’re still the most smartly-fashionable courtesan ever spied hereabouts. And while it’s something clearly impossible for me to quantify or even fathom, I can honestly relate that I remain one perpetually-popular fellow throughout these mighty Andes.

– – –

William C. Blome writes short fiction and poetry. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as The Alembic, Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.