Cocktail Hour at Clete and Juanita’s

By Dan McClenaghan

September heat drove the drinking out onto the patio, Ruth and Juanita at the picnic table with the pitcher of margaritas, Ellis and Clete on folding chairs at the edge of the lawn with their beers and Clete’s surreptitious little bottle of whiskey. The guys got loud first, but the ladies weren’t too far behind, and then Clete made a crude remark about Melody, Juanita's niece, who had been living with them for the last year. The gist of Clete's comment was that Melody was something of a tart.

Juanita glowered and told Clete to shut his mouth. The whiskey made Clete tell Juanita that if she didn't like what he said she could just do something about it.

She burst from her chair with the intention of stalking over and strangling him, but he was saved by the fortuitous arrival of a meteor that blazed in out of the black sky and blasted down on the lawn behind the drinking party with a concussive burst that bounced the foursome back against the stucco wall and gouged a swimming pool-sized crater into Clete and Juanita's back lawn.

“Oh my,” said Juanita, suddenly sober, from her new seat on the cement.

“I'll be go to hell,” Clete added.

Ellis got up, drained the beer he hadn't spilt a drop of, rubbed the stubble on his jaw and tossed the empty can into the crater where it levitated like something let loose by the astronauts.

“Holy Christ alive,” said Ruth, as Ellis reached over the void to retrieve the can, teetered a bit too far and fell into a puzzling disobedience of gravity, where he floated, flapped his arms like a butterfly improbably massive, and grinned like a goofball, then farted, jet propelling himself to the crater's edge and back down to Earth.

The party took on a new dimension then, and might have — had the foursome been younger — evolved into nakedness and zero G sex. Instead the beered-up guys got their kicks by peeing, propelling themselves backward like airborne squid over the hole in the ground, disgusting the women and leaving yellow peppercorn-sized urine globules hovering around their playground.

Ellis left his flip-flops out there, twisting and tumbling in gentle slow motion over the crater. And when niece Melody, the alleged tart, came home with an unsavory man — slipping in the side gate to sneak through the sliding glass door to her bedroom — and they saw what was happening over the new hole in the lawn with those rubber sandals, that's when the low gravity sex got rolling.

©2010 Dan McClenaghan

About the author: Dan McClenaghan is an award winning fiction writer. His short stories have been published by PearlWormwood ReviewThe BridgeNew York QuarterlyTidepools and

Note: Photo by Sara Collaton via a Creative Commons license.


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