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Not Too Close

by Brad Rose

Me and Nathan-Ray sure worked up an appetite burning all those effigies, but practice makes perfect. On our way back to town, I felt hungry as an empty plate, so we stopped off for some beer and eggs at The Shed. We sat at our usual table in the corner, while the busy music jumped like angry canines at the bear-brown walls. Nathan-Ray asked, Do you think plasma has a hidden agenda, Cole? Can it run uphill like Satan’s water? Nathan-Ray’s always thinking about things from the angle of the fire-prevention industry. He’s got hard-boiled hair and a trucker’s left-sided tan. He swears he never intentionally set anyone on fire. At least not to the best of his knowledge. I told him I didn’t know if Satan invented plasma, but I knew for sure that when we drive with the windows rolled down and the empty scrub blurs into a smear of speed, I feel sorry for myself losing all those years in Folsom. Just then, God walked in and took a seat at the counter. He looked dog-tired. He had a long, tangled beard and white splotches of paint dappled all over his cream-white overalls. If you didn’t get too close, you could barely see splattered on his clothes and shoes all the mistakes he’d made. When the music stopped, the place got quiet as an empty manger.  Let’s just say me and Nathan-Ray didn’t get too close.

About the Author

Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in Boston. He is the author of a collection of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015, and Brad has three forthcoming books of poems, Momentary Turbulence and WordinEdgeWise, from Cervena Barva Press, and de/tonations from Nixes Mate Press. He is also the author of five chapbooks of poetry and flash fiction. Four times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and twice nominated for Best of the Net Anthology, his poetry and micro fiction have appeared in, The Los Angeles Times, Cultural Weekly, The American Journal of Poetry, Clockhouse, Hunger Mountain, Folio, decomP, Lunch Ticket, The Baltimore Review, and other publications. His story, “Desert Motel,” appears in the anthology Best Microfiction, 2019. Brad’s website is: Selected readings can be heard at A list of publications is available at:

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