When the fire dies the city hits me like the Dow Jones. I write, I talk, I do. The hedge fund managers roll knucklebones on my desk and make me eat their prophecies.
When the fire dies the city isn’t mine. I work, I eat. In spray paint the vending machine is named ORACLE. The quarters chorus clunk clunk clunk clunk then stop dead.
When the fire dies the city shakes me until oil falls out. I write, I sit, I fail to do. In the office a motivational poster eats my hair. The hedge fund managers call in a surgeon. He takes one look at me and says oh what knucklebones.
When the fire dies the city spasms like a garbage disposal with a knife stuck in the throat. Clunk clunk clunk clunk. I write, I work, I talk, I write, I sit down. Credit cards swim openmouthed through the air.
When the fire dies the city chokes me like a fiscal year. I work, I talk, I fail. In my kitchen the hedge fund managers have their hands on the knife down the garbage disposal. I don’t want to write the next line.
When the fire dies I’m lying dead on the pavement. The ORACLE coughs up an obituary. Clunk clunk clunk clunk. The hedge fund managers leave it in the dispenser. They roll my knucklebones. I come up zeroes all.
Shaoni C. White writes and researches speculative fiction and poetry. Their poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, Augur Magazine, Apparition Lit and elsewhere. Their short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Uncanny Magazine, PodCastle and Fireside. Raised in Southern California, they hold a BA in English Literature and Linguistics from Swarthmore College. Find them at shaonicwhite.com or on Twitter at @shaonicwhite.