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Please welcome our new serialized flash fiction by Rodger Jacobs… updated every Monday

CRUMBLING SLOWLY TO THE OCEAN 2: THE SCREAMING POPE

Since she offered to buy me a drink I made it a top shelf selection (or what passed for top shelf in this dive): Maker’s Mark and a water back. She didn’t flinch when the bartender gave her the total, simply rolled a twenty off a wad of bills thick enough to choke a Santa Monica Boulevard streetwalker with and tossed it at the guy.

“You live in the neighborhood?” Evelyn said after introducing herself. Her voice was laced with whiskey and cigarettes and maybe something else I didn’t want to know about.

“Here?” I laughed. “No. I’m going to see a show at the MOMA.”

“You’re awfully far from the art museum,” she rasped with raised eyebrows, sipping her Canadian Club.

“I got thirsty.” I knocked back the Maker’s Mark, let it scorch and claw at my throat for a moment.

The bartender rolled a shot glass full of peanuts toward me.

“It’s a Francis Bacon exhibit, British artist, dead for awhile now,” I said while biting into a peanut shell. “There’s one painting I want to see, been dying to see it for some time. It’s called Study After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent, done in 1953; it’s sometimes called The Screaming Pope. He captures the cry of Christ on the cross through the shrieking image of Pope Innocent, sitting upright in his papal throne as if in an electric chair, everything shining golden and his jaw is dropped open in an eternal scream of damnation.”

“Torture and eternal damnation,” she said, coal-black eyes locked onto mine. “Sounds like my idea of a good time. Care for some company?”

Part 1 |

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