The Arrangement

Marcus Slease

Marcus Slease


Pino and I have been going to the park everyday. He is looking to chat someone up. I am a cock opener. Not a cock blocker. The dog park is the perfect place. We go during low bora. Medium bora. Crazy bora.

After weeks of doggie parking it he meets a woman. The woman is from Ljubljana. She is in Trieste visiting her grandchildren. She is sexy. In her sexy mid forties or thereabouts. Little nibs of jewelry poke out at sharp angles. She has a little red tongue that pops out. Her lips are fleshed out. Pink balloons that need popping. Her face and legs are as smooth as water in a dog bowl.

I stand there. Like a lemon. That’s how he likes me to stand.

When that Ljubljana woman comes around Pino gives off new whiffs. His new whiffs make me ache.


He is running now. Every morning. In the doggie areas of the park. When he runs he sweats out last night’s bottle of wine. He is panting too. And that’s good. That means I can stop all the panting. It’s making my jaw ache.

One day we are at the park. Pino tells this woman from Ljubljana about the arrangement. She uncrosses her arms and her voice gets all soft and chirpy. She is wearing a soft long coat with a red hood. She is a small red sparrow.

Pino leans closer to this woman from Ljubljana and I am between them. I can smell the sweat mixed with perfume mixed with cigarette smoke. Like the freshly dug earth of a princess.

I can hear Pino’s juices flow. I am flowing too.

She puts her lips on Pino’s lips. I can feel her full on. All our various hard ons too. Nipples to nipples, rocks to rocks.


We all meet again. For the third time. In the doggie park. We meet and then we go to the Piazza Unità.

A bad Italian rock band grinds out tunes to the bora. No one is listening but the bora. The bora is really getting serious now.

Sailboats are coming into the harbor for their annual races. Everyone is dressed up. But they cancel the races. There is an opera playing around the corner. So we go there. I hate opera.

I am still the lemon. But only on the outside.

Along the way we run into the butcher. He hands me a piece of meat. Pino makes him do that. That woman from Ljubljana chats up the butcher. She does the predictable. She flicks her hair at him. And pucks up her lips. For him to imagine popping them. And she does the shoulder shrug. Her shoulder shrug says take me into your hairy domain.

The butcher is old. He has a pipe in his mouth and it smells like licorice and camomile. And the butcher’s voice is not soft and chirpy. It is all horsey. I look into the mysteries of his mouth. I think I smell something soft. Soft and tender. Also sickly. Steamed? Grilled? Stewed?

So now there is the four of us. We walk across the street. Me and Pino. Pino looks me straight in the eyes. He is reading the signals. Forecasting the future. He’s getting all hurt. Taking shit personal. I don’t feel sorry for him. That’s not the way it works.

I look back and I see the butcher and the Ljubljana woman. The woman from Ljubljana puts her hands on the butcher’s cheeks. The butcher’s juicy knuckles bounce on her thighs. He smiles. She smiles. He smiles.

Then she kisses the butcher. Full on. I can see her little red tongue. He sucks it like lollipop.

We leave.

Pino takes me to his bed. He doesn’t tie me up. He tries to kiss me. Then he tries to talk to me. But that’s not the arrangement.


Marcus Slease was born in Portadown, N. Ireland and immigrated to the Las Vegas at age 12. Recent poetry and fiction has appeared (or will appear) in: Thought Catalog, Banango Street, Have U Seen My Whale, Everyday Genius, Forklift Ohio, Housefire Books, Metazen, So and So Magazine, InDigest, NAP, Gesture, and Keep This Bag Away from Children (among others). A bizarro tale from Poland, The House of Zabka, is forthcoming in March from Deathless Press and Poor Claudia just released his latest book of poetry Mu (so) Dream (window) He lives in London and teaches English as a foreign language. Stuff happens at The House of Zabka:


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