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How the Broken Lead the Blind Until They Both Become Something Else Entirely
by Matt Bell

The blind woman cannot help spoiling her seeing eye dog and so one day as they step out of her building and onto the sidewalk she realizes the dog has forgotten its training. She ruined her first set of eyes with night reading and a refusal to get glasses and now she has ruined her second with the indiscriminate dispensation of treats. The dog barks loudly, which it's not supposed to do, then steers her erratically into a collision course with a man coming the other way on the crowded sidewalk. The man excuses himself as he ducks to the left and continues on, but the blind woman knows it is she who should have asked forgiveness. The blind woman wonders if she can return the dog or if it would be like the time she tried to return a sweat-stained dress by claiming it was that way when she bought it. The dog barks again, giving a quick tug at its leash. The woman does not complain at the dog’s bad behavior because she knows she is the one who has caused it. The next time the dog barks the woman decides to bark back. The sound of her voice mimicking the dog’s makes her laugh, even as her face burns because she realizes people are looking at her. She cannot see them, of course, but how could they not be staring? When the dog pulls hard at the leash she does not stop him. Instead, the blind woman starts to run behind the dog, tethered to him by the short red leash. She has not run in years, since even before she lost her vision. People yell at the dog, yell at her. Another man tries to help her stop the dog but together the woman and the dog escape his grasp. They move faster, as fast they can go on the woman’s newfound running legs. The blind woman realizes they will eventually crash, that this exhilarating movement is only temporary. Freed to do anything, the woman decides she and the dog will become the causers of crashes, great accidental artists whose canvas is the street, whose paint is their own bodies, whose masterpieces are being created right now, starting with this thing that happens suddenly, only the first of the many crashes yet to come.

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

Matt Bell's writing has appeared in magazines such as Hobart, Barrelhouse, The Driftwood Review, Monkeybicycle, and Me Three. He's currently editing his first novel, "Basic Beautiful Loser," and has co-authored a book of micro-fiction entitled "Dancing On Fly Ash: One Hundred Word Stories," which was released in April 2006. He can be found on the web at

Read the interview.
Issue Thirteen (June 15, 2006): A Foreign Woman by Roberta Allen «» Fetichismo by Christopher Battle «» How the Broken Lead the Blind Until They Both Become Something Else Entirely by Matt Bell «» See Odi Naked by Lisa K. Buchanan «» Memory of Sky by Jai Clare «» The Captain by Ron Currie, Jr. «» Bingham by Steve Cushman «» The Table by David Erlewine «» Daffodil by Kathy Fish «» Fishing by Mike Hagemann «» Real Estate by Jennifer A. Howard «» Emily Avenue by Jeff Landon «» Tough Act by Steven J. McDermott «» Cheering by Srdan Papic «» Something Blew by Ellen Parker «» Euclid's Elements by Mary Lynn Reed «» Miracle by Chad Simpson «» Her Lips by Claudia Smith «» Man and Dog by Girija Tropp «» Randomization by Joseph Young «» Interviews: Roberta Allen «» Matt Bell «» Lisa K. Buchanan «» Jai Clare «» Ron Currie, Jr. «» Steve Cushman «» Katrina Denza «» David Erlewine «» Kathy Fish «» Mike Hagemann «» Jennifer A. Howard «» Jeff Landon «» Steven J. McDermott «» Srdan Papic «» Ellen Parker «» Mary Lynn Reed «» Chad Simpson «» Claudia Smith «» Girija Tropp «» Joseph Young «» Cover Art "Despair" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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