They are the Only Thing

they are the only thingThey’d bullshit people at bars. Tell outlandish stories that uncomfortably tickled people in places where they kept their notion of decency. Hinted at incest and religious fervor in dim rooms that already smelled faint of it. Said she was in the city for the weekend, that they snuck her out from underneath “ma.” Bartenders comped them shots; tipped them like tourists would street performers outside. She’d eyeball the loneliest looking man, slur we’re cousins then tug her “cousin” to her lips to make out. It seemed cruel, but it was also the most attention either man would receive that night.


Vallie Lynn Watson’s debut novel, A River So Long, was published by Luminis Books in 2012. Her Pushcart-nominated work appears in PANK, decompE, Gargoyle, and other magazines. Watson received a PhD from the Center for Writers and teaches creative writing and English at UNC Wilmington. She edits Cape Fear Review.


Photo credit: pixonomy

One Response to “They are the Only Thing”

  1. Mueleski says:

    You took me to the bar, sat me in a corner and allowed me to watch the action. Loved the lines “tickled people in places where they kept their notion of decency” and “dim rooms that already smelled faint of it.” Thanks.

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