Tag Archives: Shannon Peil

POLLYX by Shannon Peil

I got off work at 8pm to head home. My car took three tries to start, the old starter turning over and over without catching. I thought that maybe tonight I just wouldn’t go home. Tonight I just wouldn’t go anywhere. Maybe I wouldn’t go to work tomorrow. I don’t know.

The starter caught and the old engine in my Tercel rumbled and shook, idling more violently than normal. I depressed the gas a few times lightly while still parked, trying to keep it from dying. I was unsure if I would care if it died. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go back to work tomorrow. I don’t know.

Maybe tomorrow when Heather tells me to restock the cans faster I will just pick one up, maybe a can of creamed corn, or maybe peaches, and smash it into her face. Maybe I will put my knees on her chest and beat her snotty face in with that can until it’s dented and her face is nothing. I wonder if her cheap dye job hair would look any better with thick, black blood matted into it. I don’t know.

I looked up at the sign across the parking lot, from the back near the shade where I left the Tercel this morning. The bright placard for the Haymart was buzzing every four seconds, kind of going dark and then blinking back on repeatedly. I heard the sound in my head, the one I listen to on my smoke breaks, but I know I am too far away to really be hearing it. It’s just stuck in my head. Like a can of creamed corn, or maybe peaches. I don’t know.

I put my car into first and head out of the parking lot, staring vacantly past the well-lit walkway. I pull an expired twinkie out of my pocket before I end up squishing it. I place it in the glovebox with the others and turn left out onto Main. There’s a few cars parked over across the street at the adult arcade, parked near the end of the lot like they were at Wendy’s, but no one is in the Wendy’s. The people are in the adult arcade, shopping for pornography or sitting in the back room. I thought about stopping in for a few minutes, but decided there were too many people inside. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow. I don’t know.

I stop at a light and look over to see Paul walking out of the porn store. I’m not sure what to call the store, it doesn’t seem to have a name. It has a bright sign that says XXX in bright red letters, but I don’t think it actually has a name. Paul is walking towards his little Civic with his eyes to the ground and a matte black shopping bag. The matte black is protecting his shame. I think about honking, but realize I probably wouldn’t want anyone to honk at me while I hurried to my car from the porn store at 8pm on a Tuesday night. I wondered what kind of porn Paul likes. Maybe we could share sometime. I don’t know.

I zoned out for a few lights and blinked repeatedly as I realized I was in my driveway. I looked up at the trailer and lit a smoke, listening to the sound of Jeopardy coming through the living room window. By the time I killed the engine and got out, I heard the end music. She was probably going to talk to me now that the program was over. I lit another smoke and waited to hear mom get up and shut the bathroom door. I slipped inside quietly and headed to my room at the other end of the trailer. Maybe I should go back to the porn store, I thought. I don’t know.

I turned my fan and monitor on and started up Grindquest.

I looked around in the forest of Myridar and through the canopy of brilliantly green treetops at the sun. Rays beat down on my face gently and I smiled. I patted my black drake on the head and got onto his back. We started for the city of Noringdhar at a brisk pace, keeping care not to come too close to the Wyvern’s nest in the area. Someone said ‘Hey Wrath.’

I smiled.

Her name was Pollyx and she was a half-elven shadowmage. She was gorgeous, and kind. I loved the way her bright blonde hair spilled out from under her cowl, and the gentle blue glow of her eyes. I saw her standing at the city’s monumental stone archways at the entrance, waiting for me to approach. Zazz slid out of the shadows after I hopped off my drake and hugged Pollyx hello. He smirked and pushed my shoulder.

‘How’s it going, guys?’ Zazz asked, removing his Myrmidon’s Facemask of Brutality and replacing it with a dopey looking straw hat. He began to dance, waiting for us to respond. Pollyx told him she’d been waiting around for me all day so we could go farm some Vivid Redstones, and I smiled. I hopped back onto my drake and blew her a kiss.

I felt happy. I don’t know.

SHANNON PEIL lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado. His work has appeared in a few dozen online publications and a couple in print, but more notably he edits for people who actually know what they are doing at http://amphibi.us. He gets referred to as Ms. more often than not in e-mails.


BILLY by Shannon Peil

It was hot. Too fucking hot. A beer laid spilled out on the grass, and his eyes rolled lazily, half-open but more importantly half-shut. The summer wind blew over his shirtless chest as he lay in the hammock, the cool breeze occasionally waking the midday drunk with stronger gusts. He was awoken by a shrill, pointed yell.

“Billy! Wake up and help my husband with something, he just got off work.” She made sure he was half sitting before walking back into the house. Billy picked up his spilled beer and drained the bottom drops into his mouth, tossing the bottle unceremoniously back next to the hammock as he sleepily headed up the steps. His brother stepped through the doorway to the porch, intercepting him with a shirt.

“Put this on, Billy. We’re going to the store. And Jesus Christ, how much did you drink today?” Billy snorted and didn’t answer. It was hot. Too fucking hot. Pulling the shirt on, he felt the sweat stains stick back to his pits. Stepping around his brother in the kitchen, Billy went for another beer but Danny stopped his hand and shook his head.

“What are you scared about, Danny? The store is like three blocks away and you’re driving, anyways. Why can’t I bring it along?” Danny nodded towards the couch, the three and five year old sitting there, now staring up at the brothers curiously.

“Because drinking and driving is something only idiots do. Let’s go, before Sheila rips your head off. She isn’t happy with you, y’know? Neither am I.” The kids laughed, the little one stuck her tongue out at Billy on their way out the door. They returned their attention to the TV as the two men walked out. Danny was dreading doing what Sheila ordered him to do today.

“Why are you mad at me, bro? I’ve been looking for jobs, it’s just really rough right now… And you know I’m not crashing with you guys because I want to…” Billy trailed off as they climbed into the car, searching through the glove box for a pack of smokes.

“I quit, Billy. And you should too. Six bucks a pack and you don’t have a goddamn job. That and my groceries are twice as expensive with you around, you asshole. Sheila stopped fucking me since you moved in, and I told her you’d be here two weeks, tops. You know how long it’s been, Billy?” Danny’s forehead dribbled a few drops of sweat as he started the car and headed down the street towards the gas station. “Billy?”

“I know, it’s been three weeks, but I think I have a lead on a job. And you can’t just kick me out – listen, listen. I’ll be better around the house, I’ll help Sheila clean up and stop drinking so much. Danny, I’m sorry.”

“It’s been five weeks, Billy.” He didn’t look up from the road as he continued, “I need you to move out. I… We can’t deal with you anymore. I love you, you know that… But you’re really fucking up, Billy. And I won’t let my family watch it anymore. Crash with someone else for a while, because you can’t stay with us another night.” Danny parked the car and stared forward at the gas station doors, unable to look at his brother, who was making sniffling noises.

The brothers left it at that, and walked into the gas station in silence. Billy hadn’t said a word, just walked up to the counter and started fumbling in his pockets. Danny grabbed a carton of milk and asked the attendant for a pack of Marlboro’s for his brother. He signed his receipt and looked up to see Billy hassling another clerk for the day’s lotto numbers. Danny shook his head, rolling his eyes at the fact that he had bought Billy’s lotto tickets, cigarettes, and beer for the last five weeks. He was mostly disappointed that he was so easy to take advantage of, that Billy could piss the generosity away without a second thought.

He sighed and grabbed a pack of matches on his way out, tearing open the pack of smokes and lighting one as Billy read off his ticket inside. Danny took a few deep inhalations and leaned against the bricks, sliding downwards in the summer heat slightly. It was hot. Too fucking hot. He was crouched down to the cool cement by the time Billy burst through the doors, clutching the lotto ticket and screaming some slightly inebriated nonsense.

“DANNY!” He yelled. Catching his brother’s eye, he gave a grin that was all teeth. “Guess who won the fucking lottery? Me, that’s who! Don’t worry about giving me a ride, I’ll take a bus. You can keep all the shit I left at your place. Don’t need it.” Danny tried to stand, but was floored. His wide eyes only made Billy’s grin expand further. Before he could speak, Billy was halfway down the block, middle finger pointed back at him.

SHANNON PEIL lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado.  He gets rejected some times, published others, and thinks that is fine. His work has appeared in a dozen online publications and a few in print, but more notably he edits for people who actually know what they are doing at http://amphibi.us. He gets referred to as Ms. more often than not in e-mails.