Three Fictions from Chance Dibben
Older, I realize that I may have exaggerated or invented some of my pain. Did I really break my wrist when I was eleven, or did I just say I did so many times I can’t remember the truth? I know for sure I’ve dislocated my shoulders multiple times, I just can’t keep straight how and how many. Most recently it was slipping on ice, but I can tell you the story clearly because it happened not long ago and involved me screaming swearwords in backyard. Did my mother really drunkenly beat me with a stick or was this a way to explain the boringness of alcoholism? Did I simply connect the stick that was used to keep the sliding door locked to the fight we had in the den? A rounding up, spare change tossed to charity at the checkout?
I believed it with certainty for a while, but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps, like a sitcom character conked on the head with a coconut, I believed firmly in the reality presented before me, thinking I am a soldier or a chicken or the first thing I see upon waking up from my blackout.
When she got sober I asked my mother about the stick.
“I don’t remember that,” she said. “But if you say that’s what happened, then that’s what happened.”
— § —
The spiders were polite, if a little too direct. “We need your june bugs, don’t be afraid.” But I was not afraid, because I was no longer a june bug. I was something else. “Let us in, please. We won’t make a mess and we’ll keep the slathering of our fangs to a minimum. We know the noise this sometimes makes in your ear, when you are trying to nap or ahem, pleasure your partner.” I can’t, I told them through stammered searching. “Why not?” the spiders asked in unison. Because I am now a bird that feasts on your type of spiders, I told them. “We would rather live inside the warmth of your body, to be useful still, than die in the bitter winter.” I can’t, I said. I was trying to be polite too. “We can be whole together.” Although my children have hatched, I explained to the spiders, I am no longer a bird that feasts on your type. I am something else again.
— § —
The Wrong Guy
A man remembers being a boy looking at a Victoria’s Secret catalog and thinking when I get older I’m going to have so much sex. The man does. The boy, now a teenager breaks his leg terribly and consoles himself by thinking about when it won’t hurt anymore, when he’ll be able to jump again. The man can jump and dance, even though his leg is held to his foot by pins and screws. His lovers always trace the horrible scar. The teenager remembers being the boy, wondering what the clouds meant, what was this magic humming out of them? The teenager imagines his life after college, promising himself he will be rich with a beautiful wife, saying he will be better than his parents, better than the mediocre Midwest city he lives in. The man, having taken some zags along the way, wonders what happened and why his okay life ended up just okay. The man asks the teenager how come you lied to me? The teenager says hey buddy, you’re asking the wrong guy.
Chance Dibben is a writer and performer living in Lawrence, KS. His writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Split Lip, Reality Beach, Horsethief, Squawkback, Kiosk, as well as others.