UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
J. MICHAEL NIOTTA

Everything Ends


         “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry,” whispered through the receiver.

         They’d been lovers, they’d been friends…everything to each other once. But…like anything else, everything ended. She probably heard of his mother’s passing through a friend. It didn’t really matter. She’d left him…& now—just a few weeks after—his mother…

         Women are always on their way out, he resolved. Some never even make it through the jamb…just stand there…half-in, uncommitingly.

         A dry tongue touched dry lips as he weighed it. I’m sorry, she’d offered. Sorry. Inhaling long & releasing slow he let out: “For what it’s worth…thanks.”

         The phone clicked light, settling into the cradle on the end table as he leaned heavy into the padding of the recliner. A wood match fired & singed the end of the hand rolled smoke at the edge of his face before waving dead. Hot glow. Hot glow. The burn swept forward, inching toward a hard mouth. The Scotch now gone, he sucked the cubes & spit them back.

         “Yeah,” fell out decidedly, “…everything ends.”

j. michael niotta is a southern california native who hates the sun & never learned to surf. he writes about the life you won’t find in the palm tree infested brochures. odd jobs off the long list include— blueprint runner, baker, warehouseman, mechanic, firefighter, border patrol lookout, magazine editor, plumber, & telemarketer. when he has time he smokes cheap cigars, fires his single action .45 & cruises his custom 52 chevy…or just strums his gibson bass on the sofa.







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