Tag Archives: The Libidinal Economy of the Suburbs

“The Libidinal Economy of the Suburbs” – Fiction by Joseph Tomaras

Smiling Blonde - Marjorie Strider
Smiling Blonde – Marjorie Strider

“Things said and unsaid that cannot be unheard” make up “The Libidinal Economy of the Suburbs,” Joseph Tomaras‘ flash fiction from our Spring 2016 issue.

{ X }

YOU HAVE TO FLUSH THREE TIMES to send all your excreta to the town café’s septic system. It was the kind that is pleasurable but leaves you feeling a bit dirty afterwards, no matter how vigorously you wipe. You wash your hands and leave the bathroom, book in hand, three-quarters of your second mug of coffee gone lukewarm on the table.

She, overtanned with sun-brightened hair in the manner of white American women of the middle classes, says as you sit, “Have I seen you before?”

“It’s possible,” you reply from your Saturday morning stubble, your hair uncombed and two months overdue for a cut, in your faded jeans and the blue, buttoned-down shirt whose threadbare state is visible only at close range.

“No, I mean, here, today, earlier this morning. Have you been here a long time?”

“What time is it?” You ask honestly. You wear no watch and left your phone at home.

She flashes her tennis-braceleted left wrist and says “A quarter past a freckle,” chuckles, then looks at the iPhone in her right hand and says, “No, really, 10:32.”

“About an hour, then.”

“You said something to me on the line.” You never speak to people on the line. “I stopped in here after I dropped my son off at soccer, and you were with a group of people.”

“You must have me confused with someone else.”

“Actually I’m just trying to pick you up.” Her sons, five-to-eight years older than your kids, roll their eyes at one another as you steal a glimpse at her breasts, five-to-eight years lower than your wife’s. “No, I’m just driving my kids crazy.” By which she means:

“Really I am trying to pick you up but with my sons here I have no idea how to make that happen and you don’t seem interested and this is embarrassing, abject really, please help me out.”

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