Catch and Release

Mitch asks me when was the last time I kissed a woman. I count my thumb and index finger on my right hand, hold it up for Mitch to see, add years at the end. You should do what I do, Mitch says. Always go to their place or a hotel or something. He points through the window at the glass shed we have mom living in. I can tell she’s having a bad day because she’s chartreuse. She’s a little hard to explain.

The last woman I kissed, Gina, had a grandpa who thought she was his wife now and again. She told me how he liked to argue with the calendar on those days his brain would let him process what year he was really living in. I showed her the chemical burns on my arms, my clavicle, said that’s how my mom’s PTSD came out sometimes. Later that night, mom managed to get out of her latest fish tank when she heard Gina and I making out on the couch. Who is this nice young lady, she asked as she floated over us, careful not to burn our skin or the furniture. I held on to the sweater Gina left behind when she ran out of the house, hoping she’d come back. A month later, Mitch did the cruelly kind thing and threw it away.


author bio:

J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming flash fiction collection Neil & Other Stories (Whiskey Tit Books, 2018). He lives at