Story: Always the Smell of Chemistry and Aqua Net

By: Samuel E. Cole


The window shades are closed. Bobby, my husband, prefers darkness, believing transparency echoes nebulousness. He’s shady, too, speaking neither of a value system nor of its usefulness. He does, however, understand neglect, which makes it easy for me to prove, through repetition, his truth.

I find him standing in the middle of the living room in plaid pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt dotting neon circles. He’s twirling the broom like a propeller. Faster and faster. Beautiful shoulders rising and falling like the first time I saw him shirtless, first time I touched his skin, first time I knew being trapped by obsession is, and isn’t, a choice. A dust storm showers the air, flecks of light falling on everything I’ve chosen to keep around to keep the peace.

“What’s the deal?”

He opens his eyes, and whispers, “This is the deal.”

“Are you the broom or the dust?”

“I’m the spinning.” He drops the broom and takes to his knees on the hardwood floor. I sit at the kitchen table and, in my mind, pull every broken disappointment into my arms. Chest to chest, matching heartbeats, the short measurement of our past, and our future, is, simply, perfect.


Samuel E. Cole lives in Woodbury, MN, where he finds work in special event/development management. He’s a poet, flash fiction geek, and political essayist enthusiast. His work has appeared in many literary journals, and a first poetry collection, Bereft and the Same-Sex Heart, was published in October 2016 by Pski’s Porch Publishing. A second book, Bloodwork, a collection of short stories, was published by Pski’s Porch Publishing in July 2017. A third book, Siren Stitches, a collection of short stories, winner of the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction, was published by Three Waters Publishing in October 2017. A second poetry collection, Dollhouse Masquerade, was published by Truth Serum Press in May 2018. A third collection of short stories, Young Thieves in a Growing Orchard, will be published by Weasel Press in 2019. He is also an award-winning card maker and scrapbooker.

Categories: Fiction

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