by Steven Gullion
"Doobie, come out," I say. I'm on my stomach with my cheek against the carpet. "Open up, Doob, it's Good Friday. Time for snacks."
She pokes her fingers under the door, like baby carrots. She found the orange highlighter in my desk and colored her nails and kept going, all the way to her knuckles, up past her palms, to her wrists. The fingers are carrots for the Easter Bunny.
"Come out, Doobster," I say. "Let's have a cookie. Macadamia nut."
I hear the rustling of clothes. The door jiggles, but the knob doesn't turn. "I'll come out Sunday," she says. "Put the cookie through the crack."
"Doob," I say, "what are you doing? It's dark in there. There's no bathroom. The Easter Bunny won't know where you live if you're stuck in the closet. Don't make me get my tools."
All I have is a screwdriver, and I don't know where it is. My neighbors hate me because Sparky craps on their lawns and because of the brush fire. I can't ask them for help. I don't want to call the fire department again. I could slam my shoulder against the door, break it down like the vice squad, but my shoulder's already sore from sleeping funny on my tetanus shot.
Silence. "Doob?" I say.
"The Easter bunny knows everything," she says. "You're a big fat liar. The Easter bunny heard you say what you said. He's coming. Say he's coming."
"Doobinator. I beg of you. Open up."
"Say he's coming."
"Okay, he's coming."
"The Easter Bunny is coming. He's bringing a huge basket full of green grass and colored eggs and chocolate and sour jelly beans, all for you. He's bringing a frilly pink dress and a pretty lace hat and some shiny black shoes and a hair bow. But only if you open the door."
"Daddy," she says patiently. "Do you believe in Easter?"
This is one of those moments, the moments I screw up. What do you say? Do you lie the good lie?
"Easter exists," I tell her.
She wiggles her orange fingers. "I'll be out Sunday morning."
"Doob, you can't survive in your closet for two days."
Her hand withdraws. Things move inside the closet. I hear coathangers screech along the rod. The door rattles. "Daddy," she says. Her voice is coming from the crack. "Daddy, are you there?"
I put my ear as close to the crack as I can. "I'm here, Doo."
Her breath comes under the door, a soft insistent sigh. "Daddy," she whispers, and I still my own breath. "Daddy," she says, "don't you believe in me?"
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2013 by its authors.
Steven Gullion's other fiction has appeared in Night Train Magazine, The Barcelona Review, The Adirondack Review, and issues 5, 21 and 22 of Smokelong Quarterly, among others. He is currently working on a novel about an armadillo.
Read the interview.
Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.
|Issue Twenty-Five (June 25, 2009): Bush Chanting by Cynthia Helen Beecher «» Flying Pens by Pam Bolton «» Rats by Z.Z. Boone «» The Hobblers by Dan Chaon «» Slanguistic Lipstick by Frank Dahai «» Rain by Natalie DeClerck «» Good Friday by Steven Gullion «» Me and Theodore Are Trapped in the Trunk of the Car with Rags in Our Mouths and Tape Around Our Wrists and Ankles, Please Let Us Out. by Mary Hamilton «» Underfoot by Joan Harvey «» A Minor Setback by Tara Laskowski «» Woman in a Bar by Dorianne Laux «» Matt: How It Will Happen by Amanda Nazario «» Trace by Darlin' Neal «» Exile on Payne Street by Ryan Ridge «» Home Economics by Gail Louise Siegel «» A Funny Smell by Ray Vukcevich «» Andersonville by Lindsay Marianna Walker «» Northern Migration by Brandon Wicks «» Interviews: Cynthia Helen Beecher «» Pam Bolton «» Z.Z. Boone «» Dan Chaon «» Frank Dahai «» Natalie DeClerck «» Steven Gullion «» Mary Hamilton «» Joan Harvey «» Tara Laskowski «» Dorianne Laux «» Amanda Nazario «» Darlin' Neal «» Ryan Ridge «» Gail Louise Siegel «» Ray Vukcevich «» Lindsay Marianna Walker «» Brandon Wicks «» Cover Art "The Vanishing Lotus" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor|