Medusa and an Anchorite


Inhaling grass clippings and hash drifting from my sister’s window, Grandpa bounced higher on the diving board. Liver constellated skull engulfing solar eclipse. I floated face down on an inflatable zebra. Grandpa replaced his hip eleven months earlier and promised “a forward somersault in the tuck position” soon as the syzygy started. Grandpa cherished an airborne inertia. We’d never seen the board bouncing with hypnotized madness.

Mom and Dad were gorging at the corner diner where potheads pissed into Coca-Cola bottles beneath bubblegum tables. Grandpa should’ve been in Purgatory. Surgeons excised a humongous tumor last year. He bled for hours. His somersault spectacular, ring around the moon clamped him. Grandpa’s skull shattered concrete spun moonshine. My sister swung her legs puffing Alaskan Thunderfuck.

“Stop the bleeding,” she said.

We knew Grandpa was dead. Ring around the moon glowing, forehead filled with blood and broken capillaries, she ashed a canoeing joint into his hairy ear. We rolled the cancer onto his stomach and thrust him toward the pool—the inflatable zebra made room for a fresh carcass—an answer. My sister spanked his skull with the telescoping pole of the leaf skimmer.

“Look at him float,” my sister said.

She bashed him into oblivion.

“How could this happen?” Dad asked.

Mom was making love to wads of Kleenex weighted with fluorescent mucus. When the judge asked why she did it—what compelled us to commit this desperate act—my sister nailed a somersault over our attorney’s head.

“Did you see the eclipse last night?” my sister asked the man who scooped Grandpa’s corpse from the bottom, his Speedo lodged in the drain, snakes coiled around his waist. Grandpa snorted Viagra with crisp two-dollar bills. He reminisced ‘bout his glory days. “Auditioning” for the USA men’s synchronized diving team.

“His package was too small,” my sister said. “It killed him in the end. All he wanted was to make the Olympics.”

“His package?” asked the detective.

“Yup,” my sister said. “His junk. Mail carrier his whole life.”

My sister’s eyes, flying saucers, I remember falling in love beneath Muppet sheets, grimy fingernails falling into crevices like Grandpa’s thumbs on wrinkled magazines in racist barber


“He touched you?” asked the detective.

Mom and Dad stood sobbing.

“All he wanted to do was dive,” my sister said.

She swaggered to the board and bounced. The zebra floated beneath her, its cathartic plastic stripes scarred with blood. Coagulated clumps clung to the porous edges of the deep end.

My sister took hits from her vaporizer between bounces, cumulonimbus cupping sunburned breasts, a magic carpet.

~ fin ~

Matthew Dexter is an American author living in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. His fiction has been published in hundreds of literary journals and dozens of anthologies. He writes abhorrent freelance pieces for exorbitant amounts of pesos to pay the bills while drinking cervezas in paradise with tourists. He is the author of the novel The Ritalin Orgy (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013). His second novel, third novel, debut memoir, and story collection are forthcoming.