SmokeLong Quarterly
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by Bob Arter

art by Marty D. Ison
art by Marty D. Ison
White boy hanging on the corner, Haight Street and Ashbury, want to hear the jazz but he don’t want to pay. Top half of door at the Be Bop Factory stand wide open, squealing trumpet penetrate his longhair head and he tap a toe and hope he pass for cool. He just score an ounce of oregano from a skin-popper in a doorway, pale in the moon sing! pale in the moonlight—he got a beat now, tap the toe of his Tony Lama and light a Lucky.

Light go red and Mr. Suburb push off the curb, stroll easy by the bumper of a truck full of slot machines, little hop when the driver gun the engine. Other side there’s a stand with a sign say RIBS. Which the boy understand to mean soul food. Thinking, corn bread and greens, now, what the hell they call them pig guts?

“Bacteria,” say the fat black man behind the counter as he heap cardboard boxes full of steaming, stinking hog intestines. “You taste yourself some of this pig bacteria, you never gonna want nothing else. That about right, Art?”

“Gospel,” say a pipestem-thin black man tearing pork from bone. “Ain’t nothing like it.” Both men laugh and the fat one put all the boxes in a bag, say “Call it twenty dollar, son.”

White boy’s eyes open wide as he reach for his wallet. “Expensive town,” he say, thinking of the oregano. “How you black folk afford this stuff?”

“Welfare,” Art say, cackling. “We welfare millionaires, child.”

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.

Bob Arter's had stuff published in a number of swell venues, including Zoetrope All-Story Extra, Absinthe Literary Review, Gator Springs Gazette, Lit Pot, Ink Pot, Hobart, Opium, Pindeldyboz, FRiGG, Mississippi Review, Night Train, and a few he can't remember at the moment. His desert tortoise, Gomez, is sleeping under a bed in the guest room to avoid the miserable California heat.

Read the interview.
Issue Ten (September 15, 2005): Capsicum by Anne Marie Jackson «» Donat Bobet's Halloween by Bruce Holland Rogers «» The Arrival by Nathan Leslie «» The Law by Edgar Omar Avilés, translated by Toshiya A. Kamei «» Five Fat Men in a Hot Tub by Jeff Landon «» Hoover by Cally Taylor «» Are You Okay? by Joshua Hampel «» The Kindness of Strangers by Otis Brown «» Mrs. Krishnan by Kuzhali Manickavel «» Crossing the Orinoco by William Reese Hamilton «» The Elements of Summer by Laura Stallard Petza «» Closer to Paul by Patti Jazanoski «» Hawesville, Kentucky by Nance Knauer «» He Stayed for Breakfast by Astrid Schott «» Gardening by Antonios Maltezos «» Outer Space by Tom Saunders «» Blind Love by Robert Bradley «» Arks by Alan Girling «» Chitlins by Bob Arter «» Strange Fruit by Suzanne Lafetra «» Interviews: Anne Marie Jackson «» Bruce Holland Rogers «» Nathan Leslie «» Toshiya A. Kamei «» Jeff Landon «» Cally Taylor «» Joshua Hampel «» Otis Brown «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» William Reese Hamilton «» Laura Stallard Petza «» Patti Jazanoski «» Nance Knauer «» Astrid Schott «» Antonios Maltezos «» Tom Saunders «» Robert Bradley «» Alan Girling «» Bob Arter «» Suzanne Lafetra «» Joseph Young «» Cover Art "The Creation of Time and the Plagiarism of Bosch" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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