Two Stories — Short Fiction by Shay Lessman

Sitting on Milk Crates Behind the Gas Station in Shannon, IL

Sitting on milk crates behind the gas station in Shannon, Illinois with my cousin Lane was a regular occurrence. We’d made couches out of crates complete with arm rests. We talked bands and girls. He had his eye on one girl whose sister was an identical twin. Both girls from very Christian parentage. How he could tell them apart and not choose the one actually interested in him I will never know. He would always talk about her cute pixie cut, capris, camisoles under loose-fitting sweaters. I had a new girl that he knew. She was one of those girls with a dye job and daddy issues. Wore a lot of black and branded a heart on her hip. Sometimes we’d hang out as one group and screw around back behind the bowling alley before we built a beer garden there, and other times just walk around, or sit at the park and do absolutely everything to avoid doing nothing. On one such occasion, sitting on our brown and orange couch of crates, we talked of the future, both of us planning to be out of this town and in some major city like Chicago or Milwaukee. Lane made it to Madison. I stayed in Chicago two years before retreating back to town tail betwixt legs and miserable to be back. At twenty five it’s no longer okay to park it on the milk crates, and the new gas station manager is kind of a dick.

Staring Through the Snow

When I was fifteen and living in Shannon, Illinois I didn’t think I got any of the cable channels after Oxygen on 57, but one night, with nothing on, I flipped through every channel we had in search of something scintillating, but I just kept changing channels and coming up empty-handed, until I found myself listening to the sounds of the all-powerful female orgasm coming through radar jamming interference. Through the static on the screen I was hoping for a glimpse into the carnal moment that was seducing me to participate, to engage voyeuristically with this thirty-something couple still hot for one another even in the winter of the male sex drive. I couldn’t help but try to stare through the snow on the screen to find them. Could you help trying to find enduring passion at my age when your parents were sleeping apart every night and all your friends were doing each other for something to do?

Shay Lessman is a poet that loves to explore the subject of the self through the lens of classic television shows and movies. He earned his MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago in 2012. His work has most recently appeared in Arsenic Lobster, Columbia Poetry Review, Luciferous, and The Screech Owl.


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