BY Cee Martinez
Mari Dinelli walked alone under the moonless sky, through the soupy
air, her chest twisting as if filled with smashed glass. A gleaming,
milky man slid his arm into the crook of hers, sliding hot fingers
down her forearm. The shattered pain in her chest lifted, and the
relief turned into pleasure so intense it slicked her groin. Even her
mouth moistened and filled with a taste like melting chocolate.
Into her hand he slipped the handle of an umbrella.
“It will rain again.”
A strong gust tore the umbrella right from Mari’s fingers; it spun
onto the roof of a building across the lot. The slicing pain in her
Just as she knew the pleasure was Satan, she also knew, the pain was God.
The election results, decided after 12:23, sent Luca Dinelli’s family
and friends into a frenzy of excited perspiration. Paper plates of
gnawed pizza crusts hit the ceiling. A searing wall of human flesh
pressed in, lips both male and female smearing kiss-spit over his
“It’s to the moon from here, Luca-boy!” His florid brother-in-law
howled, hands cupping Luca’s face, his Irish blue eyes varnished like
Luca smiled but made eye contact with no one; squishing and weaving
through the crush. Mari stood alone by the door amongst the empty
pizza boxes. Her dark eyes were wide, her smooth, large forehead
creased as she stared at the wall.
For a moment, he saw her fleshy limbs whittled spindly, her soft belly
caved in, and her honey-touched auburn curls gone, leaving only a bald
The next morning, as Luca took the garbage out, he met a white rabbit
of a man in a pale pink shirt and holding a pink and white striped
umbrella. The man smiled, his features were smooth and his eyes a
watery, indigo blue. “Congratulations, Mr. Dinelli.”
Luca thanked him.
The man held the umbrella to him, “Mari will be fine, as long as you
get her help to cut down on the work she does around the house. The
public will rally around you now; just get her the respite she’s
Luca took the umbrella and stared at it.
“She dropped it last night,” The man said.
Luca whistled as he went back inside, leaving the umbrella on the doorstep.
Just as he knew the man was telling the truth, he also knew the man
was an angel.
The first interview had been done by phone, and although Anne had
never had a job, she’d always been in charge of cleaning around the
house and cooking some of the meals. She’d always obeyed Mom, and
because of that, Mom was allowing her today to actually inquire about
getting a paying job.
Her employer, a newly elected politician named Luca Dinelli, gave her
tea and explained how she would be taking care of the cleaning and
lunches for his cancer stricken wife.
She munched on a powdered sugar cookie. Dinelli leaned in and wiped a
corner of her mouth with the corner of a napkin, causing her to blush.
“You look just like a rabbit!” Luca said. He had large, soft lips, and
Anne wrinkled her nose. “You might as well just say, ‘you’re an
albino’ and leave it at that.”
His jaw tightened and he sat back, looking away from her, the tips of
his ears reddening. “Where did you get that umbrella?”
Anne blinked rapidly, sweating some as she worried that she may have
just been rude enough to lose the job. “I found it on the sidewalk. It
totally protects me from the sun much better than my hat.”
“My wife threw one exactly like that away, recently.”
Anne sucked the last of the sugar off her bottom lip and then
muttered. “It’s trash day. It could be the same one.” She didn’t
particularly want to give the umbrella back, but didn’t know if she
should at least offer.
“Probably is,” Luca replied.
“It’s really nice. Why did she throw it away?” Anne kept her voice
soft, hoping to win him back with meekness, like Mom’s church friends.
“She’s convinced Satan left it here,” he said with a sigh.
The relative safety and monotony of modern suburbia has actually been an inspiration for Cee Martinez who cannot stop herself from turning over the rock on any idea and using the worms for inspiration. She has spent her entire life in a suburb of Denver, Colorado where she teaches piano on top of the time she spends writing, and doesn't imagine she'll leave that life anytime soon. Links to her other published works can be found at ceemartinez.blogspot.com or you can tweet her.