When Jack Mendenhall returns from Vietnam, Wendy thinks she is interested. She likes tough boys with swagger, dirty mouths, and nasty imaginations. She thinks he might be just the ticket and plots to hang around The Undertow, or the Lucky Strike, his preferred places to get drunk, showing off the fox tattoo on her shoulder, or revealing the broken heart on her thigh. She confides the plan to her best friend Lemon who encourages her, helps put on makeup, and orders gin and tonics, one after another, for support.

The first night Jack plays pool, badly. He loses money and leaves angry without giving Wendy a glance, which makes her more interested than ever. The second time he has better luck at the table and is in a good mood. He buys Wendy and Lemon four G&Ts each and her hopes are high when Jack’s brother arrives with news of a drug buy. He leaves again without so much as a nod, but now she is smitten. She doesn’t have the language, so she just tells Lemon she is horny as hell. The third time everything falls into place, just like she planned, and Jack takes her home and fucks her.

The next day she speaks to Lemon and says Jack is not the man for her. “He come too fast? Limp dick?” Lemon asks. “No. He told me war stories that made me hot. He was a grunt and a tunneler, which meant he went into holes full of fire, and gas, and rotten flesh and sometimes he thinks he never came out. Every time he described a fight I took off another piece of clothes, and I didn’t have much on to begin with. I was down to my panties before he took his shirt off. And then I saw something I can’t unsee.” “What did you see?”, Lemon gasps, expecting swastikas, or breasts like a woman, or even a small second head. “Crevasses is what I saw. Holes inside of holes. On his chest, his back, his thighs. They weren’t just scars, not even bad scars, which are sexy. They were like extra assholes. Every one so deep maybe they went into his lungs, his guts. I tried not to touch them, but when he was inside me I felt one by accident. My fingers went inside and there was no bottom. Do you get what I am saying? They were fissures with no bottom. They were endless chasms.”

A month later Lemon is living with Jack in a one bedroom shack on the east side river flats. She is no longer friends with Wendy, but now she has something much better. A bottomless man, a man who has been to hell and back, a man who is a chasm, a black hole. A man she can burrow inside and never come out. She never seriously considered heaven before, but now wonders how it could possibly be any better than this.

J.W.GOLL is a writer and artist whose stories and poems are informed by experiences as a photographer in Chicago, the Dakotas, and Central Europe. He has published work in The Vestal Review, Storm Cellar, The New Flash Fiction Review, Hotel America, and Fiction Kitchen Berlin, among others. He is currently completing two flash fiction/prose poetry books, You Will Desire Me From Time to Time, and Notes from the Impossible City.

More by J.W.Goll:

Fiction in New Flash Fiction Review
Fiction in Vestal Review
Fiction in New World Writing Quarterly