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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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by Antonios Maltezos



I told him to shake his arms. That'd get him clear of the Devil with his overall's flap hanging down between his legs. I showed my baby brother how, from up on the back porch, the bones in my fingers rattling like a snake’s ringalos, like a mystic’s rattles. “Flap your wings then… like a bird,” but he wouldn’t listen to me, never listened to me. “Run,” I said finally. “Please, just run, Mickey boy. Run like Chico, the dog, when it’s thundering -- round and round the yard ‘til you can’t run no more 'cause you have to poop on account of all the thundering.” 


He wouldn’t listen. He just kept on wailing, his ears swelling up plump and red, his eyes melting away down the sides of his face with the streaks of dirt, his t-shirt hanging forgotten, limp and wet from his back pocket.


“I can’t come get you, Mickey. I wish I could. You know that. But I don’t want to die,” I said, pretending these were my last words to my brother, mom’s little star shine, the bastard's little champ if the prick was in the mood and he wasn’t drinking.


“It’s raining poison, Mickey, boy. It’s burning your skin,” I said, thinking he shouldn’t have listened to me, shouldn’t have done as I’d done. “Should have kept your shirt on, Champ. Now run like the Devil's chasing you with his overall's flap between his legs!”


Mom would come rushing outside at any moment, and I’d tell her how Mickey was just being a big baby. Biggest baby she'd ever seen if she wanted to see. It’s only raining water, I’d tell her. Look, I’d say, and pop my head back so the raindrops could fall straight into my open mouth, wishing it was really the poison kind so she’d have to swoop me up in her arms when I’d start to choke, hacking up my insides as she carried me under the covered porch where she’d swipe my face with her kitchen apron before kissing me good bye forever. My little star shine. 


"Run, Mickey. Run like the Devil himself is giving chase. He's gonna get you. He's gonna get you, Mickey boy."


But she wouldn't be coming out, even Chico the dog had dragged his heavy chain links through the mud and into his swollen and peeling plywood shelter, right past the tufts of his own hairs caught on the nail heads I couldn't quite sink deep enough when I'd done the constructing.


“Shut up, Mickey, you big baby,” I said, tossing him my shirt so he could learn to save himself for himself. “It’s only raining water,” I said finally, stepping off the porch, my arms spread wide open so he’d believe me. “See?”