The Cyclops Has His Reasons
The siren and the cyclops had been taking a lovely drive before a night of dinner, drinks, and then, you know. They were incredibly in love. They rolled past the strip malls, driving happily, letting themselves believe the soft love songs that played on the radio, as though they were high school sweethearts.
He was smiling blissfully and admiring her pretty blond hair, so she thought she would take the opportunity (because he could be such a tyrant with his opinions) to carefully explain the reasons why she was so opposed to placing blame.
“There are always reasons people do the things they do,” the siren said. “Like, extremists and terrorists wouldn’t hate us if we hadn’t spread our capitalist Hollywood culture all over their world. The Somali pirates wouldn’t have pirated if foreign fishermen didn’t rob their waters.”
The cyclops thought about her words for many minutes, clenching and softening his fists. “I see how that makes sense,” he said. He drove on in thoughtful silence. She extended her arm out the open window and felt thick, warm air pulse across her skin.
“Like my father!” The cyclops burst, punching the steering wheel with both fists. “He hates so many people! Like gays and Muslims and homeless bums! It’s infuriating.”
The siren smiled sweetly to herself, and then at the cyclops. “Yes,” she said, “that’s terrible. But remember, there has to be reasons why your father is hateful and small-headed. Who knows what his childhood was like?”
“Oh,” said the cyclops, “I see, I see. Something made him that way.” His tight jaw slacked and he leaned back and relaxed. He thought the siren must be the most beautiful, empathetic creature.
The siren thought (now that the cyclops had accepted her perspective) he would have to understand that there are reasons why she did what she did too.
He paid for her dinner at the downtown restaurant, then danced with her at a local bar where he became quite drunk. She drove him to a hotel. She undressed him and made love to him like a wild beast. He shot five orgasms through his body before he fell asleep. She left him there to return to her husband and forget all about the cyclops.
Instead of understanding, the cyclops broke into her home, lifted her by the neck, and smashed her face into the wall until she did not have a face.
Rebecca Fishow’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Joyland, Necessary Fiction, The Believer, Matrix, and other publications. She is a contributing editor at Cosmonauts Avenue and holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where she received the Joyce Carol Oates Award in Nonfiction and the Cornelia Carhart Ward Fellowship. She lives in Montreal.
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(Artwork by Odilon Redon)