Short Fiction For People Who Don’t Ordinarily Read Fiction: Brian Polk w/ Art by S. Putnik

S.Putnik_094_Short Fiction For The Busy, The Easily Distracted, And The People Who Don’t Ordinarily Read Fiction: Brian Polk
Art by S. Putnik

Short Fiction For The Busy, The Easily Distracted, And The People Who Don’t Ordinarily Read Fiction
By Brian Polk
Art by S. Putnik
Published Issue 094, October 2021

I Drank 10 Drinks At The Sober Bar And Was Way Too Hydrated To Fuck

“These sober drinks can sure pack a punch,” I told my potential lover, whom I met at Teetotal, the sober bar near my house. With all of the sloshing around of liquids in my stomach, I couldn’t actually engage in romance, so we played Uno while I waited for everything to digest. But after I spent the next 40 minutes peeing out elderflower, hibiscus, and turmeric-infused sparkling water, it was 10:30 p.m. and we both decided we were a bit tired. I really have to learn to take it easy next time I’m raging with my fellow abstainers.

The Optimistic Guy At My Work Is Really Fraught With Positivity Today

Pete, the guy who does something in accounting, is even more fraught with positivity than usual today — which is really saying something, considering the fact that he’s always happy for no apparent reason. Now normally accountants don’t exhibit much personality at all, so it’s a bit weird that Pete is unabatedly so upbeat about life — both because normal CPAs rarely laugh or smile and because what exactly do professionals in that line of work have to be happy about? It’s an incredibly dull profession that rewards extreme monotony and an unbending devotion to detail. But then again, maybe I’m overthinking it — which is probably exactly what Pete is not doing. Either way, I’m still going to avoid the accounting department for the rest of the day. I simply don’t have enough energy to deal with people who don’t absolutely hate every second they’re at work. Fucking weirdos.

My Attempt To Explain Green Chile To My 84-Year-Old Louisianian Grandmother Did Not Go Well

“What on earth are you making?” my grandmother asked on the first day of our family reunion.

When I told her I was preparing breakfast, she had a follow-up question on the unusual-looking contents of the aforementioned meal.

“It’s called green chile,” I told her. “It’s popular in New Mexico and Colorado. I brought it from Denver.”

“Mmm-hmm,” she said skeptically. Since she grew up in Shreveport, LA and spent a lot of time in Jackson, Mississippi, she considered everything west of Fort Worth as “over there.” And I could tell by her tone, she didn’t take kindly to the fact that this pot of slop shared a name with the Texas chili she was much more familiar with (my grandpa was from Marshall, Texas).

“It’s really good,” I assured her. “We put it on everything in Denver.”

“Sounds made up to me,” she told me in her thick Southern drawl.

I was going to tell her I liked this brand of green chile the best because it was vegan and paired well with the new top-shelf indica that I buy at my local dispensary, but I didn’t want to explode her brain. I told her, “Maybe you should just stick with your grits.” She agreed.

I Stopped Moonwalking Because I Was Worried That It Subtracted From My Daily Steps Total

Actually, this isn’t true. I like moonwalking so much that I am willing to take the hit. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for the things you love.

As A Bona Fide Smartass, I Have No Fucking Clue How To Give A Genuine Compliment

The other day at work, I was so impressed with my coworker’s attention to detail that I attempted to compliment him. This fellow employee — who I will call Frankly Franklin — and I generally engage in any number of pranks and smartass competitions (for which there are no winners). So it’s not like we’re on unfamiliar terms. In fact, it’s this familiarity that made my compliment sound utterly unnatural.

“You, uh, did, I mean …” I said. “Wait … Okay, what I meant to say is that you did good there, that job you did.”

Frankly Franklin just stared at me.

“You know?” I added.

He shook his head and walked away. Later on in the day, I made a disparaging comment about the fact that he still listens to Pennywise, and the balance of the universe was thus restored.

I Remember When This Row Of Pot Dispensaries Used To Be A Row Of Starbucks

Gather ‘round friends, and I will tell you a tale of the Denver of yore — long before the legalization of cannabis, the explosion of housing prices, and the proliferation of drunk tech workers on scooters. You see, before 2014 when pot shops conquered the city like they conquered this block, the Seattle-born Starbucks had shops everywhere — three on this street alone. Back then, weed was still considered a crime, so the citizens of our fair city needed another drug (like caffeine) they could consume during the part of the day before it was considered acceptable to frequent the bars. And since our neighborhoods were beginning to succumb to the first wave of gentrifiers — who would rather drink Folgers than deign to support the local coffee shops that were already here — they demanded a soulless multinational chain with which to support their addictions. Thus, Starbucks began to spread like wildfire throughout the Mile High City. And since the coffee shop didn’t want their customers to have to cross the street to procure their overpriced beverages, they would cluster several locations together, like they did on this street. But while many of the corporation’s stores survived the legalization of cannabis, several went under as Denverites began to realize that getting stoned was way more fun than drinking shitty coffee. And that’s why there is only one remaining Starbucks on this block nestled nicely between the 16 dispensaries.

Whenever I See Restaurants Advertising With Pictures Of Attractive Women Holding Semi-automatic Firearms On Their Websites, I Don’t Hold Out A Lot Of Hope For Vegan Options

On my uncle’s birthday, he suggested we go to a place in Glendale called the P-Lounge. Intrigued, I googled the eatery that, hitherto then, I had never heard of. When I opened the webpage, I was treated to a photograph featuring young, blonde and busty women holding firearms that could take down an entire military unit. What the hell these gun-toting models had to do with the restaurant’s food, I hadn’t the slightest idea (and as I would eventually discover, neither did the owners of the business, who made no attempt to connect the dots.) But they were unmistakably attempting to appeal to a demographic that did not include me. It was at that very moment that I made a mental note to do what so many vegans have done before heading into hostile territories and eat before I go.

Do You Ever Reminisce About Your Youth Only To Realize That You Weren’t Really All That Happy Back Then, And Then You Realize That Since You’re Not Happy Now, You May Never Actually Know True Happiness At Any Point In Your Future?

Because I don’t recommend it.

Brian Polk is a Denver-based writer, publisher of The Yellow Rake, and drummer for Joy Subtraction and Simulators. He’s the author of Placement of Character and Turning Failure into Ideology. He likes writing, muck raking, yellow journalism, zines not blogs, cheap booze and punk rock.

Check out Brian’s past monthly Birdy installs, Million Dollar IdeasSingle Sentence Fiction For People Who Really Don’t Enjoy Reading, and more, with art by S. Putnik, in our Explore section.

Siena Goldman aka S. Putnik lives in her birthplace, Los Angeles, where she has spent her lifetime so far experimenting with the visual and musical arts. She loves working with pencil, pastel, watercolor, crayon and collage to convey interesting textures, color palettes, and moods in her multi-media artwork. As a 25 year old, she has spent a lot of life in school, uncomfortably switching districts and trying to fit in. Now, she is just stepping out yet again, this time stuck in the squeeze of birth as a young artist.