SmokeLong Quarterly
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Repair Man
by Kathy Fish

art by Robinson Accola
art by Robinson Accola
Trey dreams in black and white of cogs and band saws, electrical circuits and wires. When he wakes up, he remembers he was once an old man. Trey is Mattie's boyfriend. He works making repairs for the subway system. Mattie says his work clothes require industrial strength. He takes them to the Wife Saver Laundromat in the retail strip near Mattie's apartment building. He's studying to be a transportation engineer. He likes working underground, where it's dark and cool, but the bills are piling up. Nights, Mattie reads and rereads the texts aloud for him, her feet propped on the kitchen table. She runs a yellow highlighter over the key points. After, they wrangle under the covers, the streetlight shining through the one, tiny window. Trey is conscientious, light with his fingers and his tongue. His hair falls over his eyes as he works her. Mattie will someday develop the habit of calling him Handsome Mole. Someday she'll feed him cornflakes, offer him a lager. He'll carry a backpack full of books to the Wife Saver, but he'll never open them. He'll die before she does, alone on an ice morning, walking past the subway to church.

"Repair Man" was first published in Spork. It appears here by permission of the author.

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



Kathy Fish's stories are published or forthcoming in Quick Fiction, Sleepingfish, Denver Quarterly, New South, Indiana Review and elsewhere. A collection of her work is now available from Rose Metal Press in a book entitled "A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women."

Read the interview.

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.
Issue Twenty-One (June 15, 2008): Paper Mouse by Bob Arter «» The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines by Matt Bell «» The Bone Orchard by Randall Brown «» Disease Relics by Blake Butler «» We Decided to Make Porn by Brian Allen Carr «» The Baby Drop-Off by Natascia Casey-Dean «» The Cougar by Dave Clapper «» Anointed by Myfanwy Collins «» Sister Earth by John Colvin «» Soap by Katrina Denza «» The Interpretation of Light by Murray Dunlap «» The Hole by Ashley Farmer «» Repair Man by Kathy Fish «» In the Kitchen She Wakes by Stefanie Freele «» American Gothic by Scott Garson «» Lobster Girl by Alicia Gifford «» Pen and Notebook by Natalie Goldberg «» Memento Mori by Rosanne Griffeth «» BiC by Steven Gullion «» Parting by Evelyn Hampton «» Tuesday by Lindsay Hunter «» Waiting on Lombard Street by W.P. Kinsella «» Johnny by Nance Knauer «» Like Swimming by Jeff Landon «» Feeling Sad by Darby Larson «» Alone With Cooper by Ellen Meister «» The Angel's Visitation by Corey Mesler «» South Dakota by Mary Miller «» California Fruit by Meg Pokrass «» Home Made by Bruce Holland Rogers «» Handful of Dirt by Jim Ruland «» Steam City Girl by Paul Silverman «» Sugar by Claudia Smith «» The 13th Toast by Amy Sparks «» Gathering by Kelly Spitzer «» Tiny Shadows by Maryanne Stahl «» Double-Exposure by Thomas White «» Epistemology by Joseph Young «» Why This Isn't a Good Story to Tell by Shellie Zacharia «» Liquid by Michelle Zellers «» Real Estate by Bonnie ZoBell «» Interviews: Bob Arter «» Matt Bell «» Randall Brown «» Blake Butler «» Brian Allen Carr «» Natascia Casey-Dean «» Dave Clapper «» Myfanwy Collins «» John Colvin «» Katrina Denza «» Murray Dunlap «» Ashley Farmer «» Kathy Fish «» Stefanie Freele «» Scott Garson «» Alicia Gifford «» Rosanne Griffeth «» Steven Gullion «» Evelyn Hampton «» Lindsay Hunter «» Nance Knauer «» Jeff Landon «» Darby Larson «» Ellen Meister «» Corey Mesler «» Mary Miller «» Meg Pokrass «» Bruce Holland Rogers «» Jim Ruland «» Paul Silverman «» Claudia Smith «» Amy Sparks «» Kelly Spitzer «» Maryanne Stahl «» Thomas White «» Joseph Young «» Shellie Zacharia «» Michelle Zellers «» Bonnie ZoBell «» Cover Art "Five Years of SmokeLong" compiled from art by Marty D. Ison, Robert Dornberg, Malina, and Rebecca Gullickson «» Letter From the Editor
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