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We Are All Friends Here!

by Vincent Poturica

My party is a great success. The President comes. The Vice-President comes. The ghosts of many former Presidents come. Ulysses S. Grant gives me a special cigar from heaven. He tells me its smoke will grant me temporary powers, such as the ability to see into the future. Wow, what a great gift! Thanks, Ulysses! He bows and tells me I’m lovely, a lady of his own era, his own heart. Of course, Vincent van Gogh comes and so does his brother Theo. They are quite charming, polite, but undeniably melancholy. Oh Vincent! Oh Theo! It’s okay to smile! They bring me a few sketches and a bag of pretzels, the organic kind. How thoughtful! And environmentally conscious! I give them each a hug, and so does my son Julius who is wearing a red cocktail dress. They sob silently on our shoulders. Oh dear. The infinite despair of genius! Madonna comes, too, with several of her children with made-up names. She has so many children! I tell her, When I get famous, I’m going to collect children, too! She doesn’t think my joke is funny. I apologize profusely. Madonna forces a smile, showcasing that sublime gap between her front teeth—I could die in that gap and escape the karmic cycle. Seriously! I tell her I’m working on my inappropriate humor with an analyst recommended by Nicholas Cage. Is he here? Madonna asks. Of course, I say and point to a man passed out beside the stone fountain, a naked cherub spitting water into his long graying hair. Oh Nicholas! Pace yourself! One of Madonna’s daughters with a made-up name—possibly Lard—sings a soulful rendition of “Doo Wah Diddy.” Great song choice, Lard! Madonna sings a cover of ABBA’s “Fernando.” Everyone is dancing. Even Julius and all his punk rock friends. But, suddenly, Julius pulls a pistol from his pocket and points it at the President. Oh no! A member of the secret service tackles Julius to the Italian granite patio, ripping the pistol from his hand. Water dribbles from the trigger. It’s only a squirt gun! Oh Julius! You and your shenanigans! The President smiles and shakes Julius’s tattooed hand. You rascal, the President says. You fear-mongering scumbag, Julius says. We’re all friends here!

Author's Note

I don't know where this story came from, and I try not to know. I write to feel lighter.

Vincent Poturica's writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, The Balitmore Review, Birkensnake, Columbia Poetry Review, and New South. He lives with his wife in Long Beach, CA.

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