Fiction by Joe Trinkle


A short story by Joe Trinkle

 My brain pulses gently against my temples. I can taste whiskey and hops on my tongue, but all I remember drinking is gin. I kept ordering gin and tonic, gin and tonic, and the bartender kept asking me what kind of gin. I said that any gin would do—well gin, in fact would be perfect. The bartender would smile, and pour in Bombay Sapphire and I would say, no, no well gin is fine. He would say no charge, no worries. He was fighting against me, and he won every time.

The bedroom is clean, neat, except for the bed which is a tangled nest of sheets, ashtrays and empty beer bottles. I did not buy any beer. I do not know where this beer came from. I reach for a glass on my nightstand, because I need water more than anything. The glass is empty.

She must have cleaned up before she left, because I distinctly remember this room being a glorious mess last night. She woke up and cleaned the room and left, like an early morning maid.

I don’t know why she came here, just that she did—I can remember that much. Last night I told her that she wears too much makeup, that her $90 haircut makes her look like a white trash Jennifer Aniston and that she can kindly stop showing me those goddamn photographs, which are, at best, a base imitation of something that was –fifty years ago—probably not even that good. She laughed and put her hand on my knee and then everybody else laughed, showing their teeth like wild fucking animals. I asked them if they all knew that they looked like wolves when they laughed, wolves baring their teeth, and they told me that I am funny and continued to laugh.

I am giving some serious consideration to getting out of bed. I’m putting some good thought into it. But my brain feels sandy, or like a crumpled page from the phone book that was hastily torn out and used to wipe up spilled wine. I can’t believe that she cleaned everything up. Put my socks and underwear in the laundry basket, plugged my phone into its charger, picked up the books and photos that we knocked over while we had sex against the dresser last night. I can’t see into the kitchen, but she probably did the dishes too.

It’s three in the afternoon, and the light is coming in sideways now, catching my red eyes and making them burn. I reach for my phone to call out of work. I start in two hours and am in no condition for anything, and besides, I hate my job. I tell the boss that I am not coming in. Concerned, he asks why not? And I tell him that I am still reasonably drunk and too tired, and I look like a fucking research monkey, and he can go shove the job up his ass anyway. He pauses and then laughs and says he’ll see me at five. I’m hilarious, he says, hanging up and still chuckling like a fat Englishwoman.

My cat jumps on the bed, begins purring and nuzzling my naked thigh. She is an asshole, and I tell her so. She looks up at me, as if to ask me what I mean. I tell her to nevermind.

Joe Trinkle is a writer currently living in Philadelphia, PA. He attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania for Writing and co-facilitates the Allentown Writers Workshop. Previously published in New Fraktur Arts Journal and Subtopian Magazine, his work is also forthcoming in several journals. Recurring elements found in his fiction include: dark humor, reflexivity, stories-within-stories, drug/alcohol addiction, hyper-intellectualism and emotional dystopia.You can contact him at

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One Response to Fiction by Joe Trinkle

  1. my life seven months ago, except no man I ever heard of would ever ever clean the apartment before leaving.

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