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Volume 2 Issue 11 (20 March 2012)

Finch Holes: Flash Prose

Myoclonus of the Diaphragm

2.11 Myoclonus

Hic.

Here we go, back in time to when you were ten and there wasn’t much happening, either on TV or in your back yard where there was never much happening, just a clothesline on a pole that looked like a spider web and a single sad swing hanging from a tree by a yellow nylon rope, just a board really, tilted to one side, and

Hic.

That’s your daughter now, sweet Angie, when she was ten and you were forty-two and you were deep into your mid-life crisis which involved anger and withdrawal and Jeff kept pleading with you to get out and do something like join a gym, and you kept telling him to fuck off, but never in front of Angie who at that point was still sweet and not a massive disappointment yet, though she would

Hic.

Goddamn it, you can’t even think with your diaphragm clenching this violently, the disturbed vagus nerve, whatever that is, but it’s your own fault and you know it because you just ate too many pepperoni stromboli slices and swilled your wine too fast and didn’t have water when Jeff suggested it, but

Hic.

Back to youth, about sixteen from the looks of it, and that’s when the drinking began and also when the joyless sex began because it looks, doesn’t it, like you’re about to get into the back of Seth Murphy’s hatchback and lay down so you can unbutton your shirt and let him play with your boobs, although that night he apparently wasn’t settling for that, and 

Hic.

The office on the 14th floor of the tallest building in Indiana and you’re not impressed with the view from the window, but you think that if you lean your forehead against it hard enough you might actually manage to crash through to freedom, but you stay in one place and the cold pressure on your forehead feels good, so you

Hic.

Back to that swing and your back yard and you’re ten and walking toward it there doesn’t seem to be anyone home but a weird feeling because the clouds overhead are gray and thick and moving too fast and the quality of the air is clearly changing, humidity and hot wind

Hic.

Goddamn it they will never stop someone died from hiccups I know they did because they couldn’t take it anymore no cure working not water nor a teaspoon of sugar nor someone scaring you nor doctors the only cure the only way to break the relentlessness of a body willing to attack itself forever is

Hic.

And here’s Angie reeling through the door her clothes all mussed up and her eyes bleary and she lurches against the doorframe and you step up to her and say Jesus Christ you smell like a still and she fires back You smell like a still every day starting at four so I’d be shocked that you could tell and you open your mouth but

Hic.

Several times you’ve done this you’ve gotten this strange feeling while walking like you’re not going to be able to move anymore and you’ll stop and people will wonder where you are and it will turn out that you’re not anywhere, or rather that you’re here, at the end of Heath Street turning the corner onto Sycamore and you’re paralyzed because you just can’t

Hic.

Oh Jesus the fiftieth birthday Surprise! well it was fun after all but didn’t your heart about stop when you looked around at the crowd of strangers who materialized out of the dark and realized that they were in fact friends and family everyone from Uncle Rick the Lunatic to Rosie all the way back from Lornigan High to Old Edna the secretary at Whitman, Gettleman, and Tennant, everyone except

Hic.

This can’t go on forever this can’t go on forever there’s got to be a break or an end to it relentless, perverse, cruel internal self attacking the body and for what, what do hiccups accomplish, nothing but

Hic.

Sitting on that swing now moving back and forth and in circles slowly while the hot wind picks up and it’s not true that there’s no one home there’s someone but who is it who is it and an explosion from the woods and you’re startled but you sit there and feel the presence of someone approaching you but you don’t look up just stare at the ground as it

It…

It….

Oh, thank God, it’s over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Atticus Review 2.11: Flashdance - March 20, 2012

    [...] “Myoclonus of the Diaphragm” – Quentin Miller: “Hiccups as literary trope—how clever is that? Alcohol tastes good but frames an entire life with involuntary convulsions and white light.” [...]

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