*S.C.U.M by HLR

Punk Noir Magazine

They are cooking a roast dinner. She is rifling through the drawers, searching for her favourite knife, and he is behind her, smashing some meat with a mallet.

“Carrot,” she says, to no one in particular.

“What?” he shouts over the thuds of hammer on flesh.

“Oh, nothing. I was just thinking aloud.”

“About what?”

“About these carrots.”

He stops.

“What about them?”

She has been good today. No outbursts, no tears, no troubling comments, no injuries, no nastiness. She has washed her hair and brushed it. She has been writing a lot. She has had a glass of wine. Hopeful of her good mood, he anticipates an observation about the carrots’ phallic nature; perhaps even a dick-size joke, a cheeky comparison, the carrots being tiny, himself being too big.

“Carrot,” she says again, picking one out of the bag and inspecting it.

“Yeah?”

“Carr-ot.”

“Why are you pronouncing it weird?”

“Car-rot.”

“Is that how they say it in France?”

Ca-rrot.”

“Why are you saying it like that?”

He stares blankly at the back of her head, mallet in hand.

As she turns to face him, her knife catches the light.

“Carrot,” she says, slowly, “sounds like a blend of ‘garrote’ and ‘carotid.’”

Potential For Violence enters the room and stands between them. The three of them share a tense twenty seconds together in the tiny kitchen.

“Oh gosh,” she says, suddenly, “I think I’ve been watching too many true crime documentaries lately!”

She laughs, eyes down, embarrassed. She replaces the knife with a glass of wine and sips with a wide smile.

“Yep!” he says, relieved, remembering why he loves her. “Sounds like you’re right, babe,” he says, quietly placing the mallet down on the counter, “so let’s watch some comedy on the box tonight then, shall we?”

Potential For Violence leaves the room as quickly as he arrived.

“Sure,” she replies cheerfully, and goes back to skinning the bright orange cocks.

*Society for Cutting Up Men – inspired by ‘SCUM Manifesto’ by Valerie Solanas.

HLR writes poetry and short prose about living with chronic mental illness, trauma, and grief. Her work has been widely published in print and online. Her debut prosetry collection ‘History of Present Complaint’ is published by Close to the Bone. Her micro-chap ‘Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess’ is to be released by Ghost City Press (summer 2021). She lives in north London, where she was born and raised. Twitter: @HLRwriter Instagram: /hel.rol. Get ‘History of Present Complaint’: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B08X6DRP95