Sugar – Christian Fennell

She walked out the door, her flip-flops smacking her heels, her white short dress tight all the way down.

She reached the gravel driveway and looked at the kid’s toys, her cigarette burning down between her fingers. She looked away, somewhere, and took a drag of her cigarette. She tossed it to the gravel, toed it out, and opened the drive-shed door.

Her eyes adjusting to the dim light she walked to the fridge and grabbed a beer. She opened it and walked to the workbench and pulled herself onto a high metal stool. She crossed her legs, her one foot bouncing—a nervous energy of how she was hinged, much like this place itself. Why won’t you put that greasy thing down and come over here? Why won’t you?

She took a sip of beer and leaned back, her thin milky-white forearms resting on the workbench, her dress high up on her long legs, and she tilted her head, the thickness of her blonde hair falling to one side and catching the light, just right, and she knew it, and did so without having to.

She looked at her chipped red nail polish.

She looked out the small window. At the scrubby land. At the coming heat.

A small bird came to the outside of the window. Maybe a starling. She didn’t know. She did once, when she was just a little girl.

Baby, this day is gonna be a hot one, it’s comin.

He stepped out from under a jacked-up ’69 Firebird and grabbed a rag from the workbench and wiped his hands.

He took the beer from her and took a sip.

Here, don’t take all of that.

She got up and walked to the fridge and grabbed another beer. She closed the fridge door and looked at the calendar hanging on the wall, some girl with less than little on draped over the hood of a shiny red car. They make good money, ya know. She opened the beer and looked back at the poster. A blonde, like her. It’s not just the money, it’s the connections. Ya know that, right?

She walked back to the workbench and sat on the stool.

He pushed himself forward and turned and faced her, his hands reaching past her to the workbench.

The small fan in the window rattled and blew warm sticky air.

Sweat from his forehead dropped to her thigh.

She looked at her leg, at the drop, and she put her finger to it, and it ran, like a tear.

The smooth touch of her dress, moving up, and she pushed herself forward on the stool, just a little, just enough, a lazy southern cat stretching its underbelly to the warming sun.


I know, baby, make it good, make it right. She looked back out the small window. Like it could be.

C FennellHaving recently completed his first novel, The Fiddler in the Night, long-listed for the 2018 Dzanc Book Prize for Fiction, Christian Fennell is currently working on a collection of short stories and a second novel, The Monkey King. His short stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines and collected works, including: Chaleur Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Litro Magazine, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Liars’ League London, .Cent Magazine, among others. Christian was a columnist and the fiction editor at the Prague Revue.