SmokeLong Quarterly
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by Dominic Preziosi

Itís like falling in love, at first, that little buzz behind his navel somewhere, a tiny tuning fork humming a song of something good under way, or about to get under way. Anticipation: he remembers it now. No sensation like it.

He spreads his palm over the spot, taking possession. Itís with him when he drives to work, like company along for the ride; heís not so alone now, descending to the interstate. He enjoys it in private, between bites of the baked chicken his wife makes every Wednesday. Nothing to worry about--just the opposite, in fact, until it wrenches him from deep sleep one Sunday morning at three-fifteen. What the hell was that? Sitting up he wonders if it really happened, or if it was just the refrigerator acting up--heís always lost in the middle of the night.

But next time he knows exactly where he is. Jesus, he says, elbowing his wife; itís happening again. Soon itís become something else: a thrum, a growl. It spreads to his groin and touches his spine; each vertebra recoils in response.

The doctor looks up at him from behind thick glasses. And you first noticed it when? Because it seems to have made serious inroads.

Inroads. Incursions. Unwanted advances. He imagines it mapping out secret paths inside him, even as he submits to further examination. It radiates from where it first settled, sneaking past inadequate barriers, pushing out feelers, spreading black branches....

And here he thought it was life that had come back to seize him.

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

Dominic Preziosi's work has appeared or is upcoming in Avery: An Anthology of New Fiction; The Beloit Fiction Journal; The Brooklyn Review; The Furnace Review; JMWW; StoryGlossia; and elsewhere.

Read the interview.
Issue Eighteen (September 15, 2007): When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny by Steve Almond «» Nailed by Robert J. Bradley «» Raymond Carver by Dan Chaon «» The Sound of Success by Terry DeHart «» Ethnic Lego Girls Carry Spears by Heidi W. Durrow «» Mole Man by Stuart Dybek «» Party by Emily Fridlund «» From Halliville To Grice's Town by Jason Jackson «» Starfish by Jeff Landon «» Insomnia of an Elderly French Designer by Sean Lovelace «» Display by Davin Malasarn «» Little Bones by Kuzhali Manickavel «» Stigmata by Susan O'Neill «» Inroads by Dominic Preziosi «» Bachon by Teri Davis Rouvelas «» Voc Rehab Vignettes by Jessica Schantz «» Neighbors by Curtis Smith «» Caging the Thing by Beth Thomas «» Interviews: Steve Almond «» Robert J. Bradley «» Randall Brown «» Dan Chaon «» Terry DeHart «» Heidi W. Durrow «» Stuart Dybek «» Emily Fridlund «» Jason Jackson «» Jeff Landon «» Sean Lovelace «» Davin Malasarn «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Mary Miller «» Susan O'Neill «» Dominic Preziosi «» Teri Davis Rouvelas «» Jessica Schantz «» Curtis Smith «» Beth Thomas «» Cover Art "Repression of an Open Mind" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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