by Ptim Callan

I was bogarting the remote and surfing through all seventy-three channels without hesitation or remorse.

Flip. Something about some guy’s new book.

Flip. An old Steve McQueen movie. Steve plays a tough guy.

Flip. Soccer.

Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip.

“Why don’t you give me the remote?” my sweetie said to me. She wore that long pink cotton nightgown that went all the way to her ankles.

“You mean turn off the TV and do something else with our evening?” I grinned at her.

My sweetie rolled her eyes. “Please,” she said, “that has got to be the only thing you think about in this world. I am not in the mood.”

“You’re never in the mood. And therefore I’m never giving you the remote.”

Flip. Flip. Flip.

My sweetie’s voice got that wheedling tone. “Honey, you’ve really got to cut that out. It isn’t polite. How many times do I have to tell...”

Idly, I pointed the remote at my sweetie and hit the mute button. Her lips kept moving, but I didn’t hear any sound.

“That’s cute,” I said. I hit the Channel Up button, and my sweetie sat in a dark blue suit reading silently aloud from a sheaf of papers in her hand. Her lips moved, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I turned up the volume.

“...Senator Paul Simon today in a surprise ann...”

Flip. My sweetie in a basketball uniform. Flip. My sweetie bit into a hamburger and gave the camera a nummy smile. I returned to the original station. My sweetie sat on the couch in her pink nightgown and looked shocked. I walked over to the junk drawer and began rummaging through it.

“What are you doing?” my sweetie asked.

“Looking for the cable guide. I want to figure out what number the porno channel is on.”

©2002 by Ptim Callan

Ptim Callan's fiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Poetry Midwest, Eyeshot, and others. He's written and produced independent films that have screened at San Francisco International Film Festival, The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, and other festivals. He studied English at UCLA, and his first name is pronounced "Tim." See more of his work at his Web site.

  Home Contributors Past Issues The Ten   Links  Guidelines About Us

Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter


Slow Trains in Print Slow Trains, Volume 1 in print