Alan Catlin

The Lamia

“A man who’s drinking is always dreaming
about a man who’ll listen.”

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation

The men she hung with all had
the scent of failure, half-baked on
alcohol and self-defeat, simply
waiting for someone to turn up
the flame, someone like her, who
would gladly supply the match.
A few dates with her and they were
inextricably joined at the hip like
sick Siamese twins or hosts to
parasites, drunk driving home from
bars as if it were a new kind of
On-the-road full contact sport
anyone with a BAC of 2.0 and above
could play. Despite a diet of Budweiser
and red wine, she remained lean
and wiry, only slightly withered
around the edges where skin met
bone as if she’d been left out in the rain
too long and dried off in a gale force
wind. Sunbathing topless pictures
of her were conversation pieces
along the bar all the regulars
tired to fake enthusiasm for, though
mostly they could have cared less,
felt the snaps were meant more as
relationship auditions than titillation
knowing her current man was a bottle or
two short of being used up and returned
for recycling or for the deposit, if she
could get one. Some guys compared
her to a vampire in clogs who might last
for centuries or until someone drove
a stake through her heart for the good
of all mankind. it was likely that would
happen anytime soon but it should.

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