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By Mathew Serback

          I drank too much whiskey with a man from India. I knew he was from India because somewhere between the counter of the liquor store where all the employees know our first names and the floor of his apartment, he mentioned where he was from. He was trying to identify with me—or I was trying to identify him.
          I threw up. I tried to read my future in the tea leaves, as the brown haze of the whiskey mixed with the gnashed up pieces of this morning’s breakfast or last night’s dinner. My head came to a rest on the toilet seat. The world revolved around me.
          “Do you want to know why I stopped doing heroin?” the man from India asked.
          I tried to smile up at him with my chipped teeth and deep-fried brain. His girlfriend was dancing behind him, by herself, in the corner of the living room. She only wanted a little space for herself. He never introduced us. He knew she couldn’t handle it—right now.
          “I had blown all my money on the American Dream—on the living moment. I still craved for more. I told my drug dealer I didn’t have any money—for the drugs. I told him I would do anything for just a little touch of that slick slippery sugar in my veins.
          “So he made me a deal.
          “He told me to have sex with him and I would be able to see the water bleed.”
          My teeth were still falling out and crumbling like wet paper towels in my hand.
          “He started kissing me. And that—that was when I felt his erection bulging against the inside of my thigh. And I threw up.”
          The knots in my stomach came undone. I looked up to him, a smile chasing my cheeks to my ears, and started to laugh at his misfortune. This wholly heedless laugh that started somewhere deeper than the soul came out of my nostrils.
          “Don’t worry,” he said. “It won’t be the last time that happens.”


Mathew Serback cannot tell his right shoe from his left shoe, and that is not a joke. His debut novella will be available through ELJ Publications in October of 2017. Until then, his fiction appears in DASH Literary Journal, Yellow Chair Review, Sleet Magazine, Donut Factory, Gone Lawn, and many others.