Short Fiction Spotlight: “The Lothario from an Unknown Zone” by Bob McNeil

A man-sized mosquito descended on 43rd Street and 7th Avenue amid a warm afternoon. The horrific creature’s presence made me scream. However, my legs, quite inexplicably, could not flee the fearsome scene. Amazing still, I was the only person who noticed the otherworldly invader. So, as a result, I concluded the scenario was a hallucination. My confused brain felt like a strange terrain. I did not enjoy dwelling in it without the weapon of reason.

The being that defied a logical category stopped and stared at the metropolitan masses. Fascinated by the pedestrians, cars, and buildings, the creature used one of its legs and reached under its left translucent wing. Right from beneath that aeronautical appendage, the thing pulled out a camera. Fearful of its appearance and amused by its actions, I unexpectedly laughed. Taken aback, I concluded the weird winged entity was a tourist, if you will, a shutterbug.

Any notion that my day could not get more unearthly flew away when a naked woman approached the inexplicable vermin. This lady on the street was Aphrodite of Knidos incarnate. Mystifying yet true, she hugged the insect. The being, thereafter, fondled her with desire.

Unconcerned with the masses around them, they walked hand in hand towards the Hotel Retcher. Silent as a leopard, I followed them. Unfortunately, at a distance of around ten feet, I could not hear their conversation. An orchestra of car noises and crowds obscured any chance of hearing the discussion.

The bizarre pair entered an ill-famed tan-colored hotel. Known for its cheap fee, murders, suicides, bed bugs, and filth, the 24-story establishment was appropriate for them. Already registered there, neither the insect nor his mate went by the greenish-white front desk with numerous clocks above it. I, overcome with curiosity, looked at the clean pate of a pale clerk who was gazing in a westerly direction.

East of understanding what was going on, I followed the couple into a lobby that looked like the 1970s threw up all of its cheesiness on the place. The vomit was composed of a mirrored ceiling, pleather-adorned lavender couches, machine-made marble columns, and Polywood tables.

Fear prevented me from entering the same elevator with the two beings. Unconcerned with me standing outside of the closing doors, they hugged and kissed. Obsessiveness made me look at the display of ascending numbers on the wall. Staring upwards, I saw that they got off on the thirteenth floor.

Either perversion or concern, term it what you want, motivated the following action. I got on the next elevator after them, and it was surprisingly quick. It was fast enough for me to observe the couple enter room 237. Aware of my presence, they both turned around, stared at me, and slammed the door. Accepting my stalker status, I was impervious to disgrace. Undeterred, I resumed my investigation.

Hesitantly, I walked out of the elevator. A crud-and-bubblegum-dappled reddish carpet met my well-worn teal sneakers, and sneak I did. My oracular sense was Orwellian when I went to the room and got a keyhole view of their activities. No amount of bizarre internet searches or horror movies could have acclimated my mind to what I saw next.

Standing upright, the humanoid pest presented its long and erect member. Irrefutable exultation was tattooed on the female’s face while her legs bestraddled two wings. Either because of the stinger it stuck into her foot, or the phallus stuck in her orifice, she screamed in a way that reminded me of mating cats. From then on, the couple utilized just about every known position in the Kama Sutra for about an hour.

Sated with their mating, it appeared the two were ready to rest. Moments from falling into fatigue, the female turned towards her male counterpart and said in a blissful whisper, “Promise me that you will not get this buzzed for some huzzy.”

Pausing for a moment, her surreal inamorato responded in a tone that sounded similar to an electric saw. He said, “Only a bugged-out being would forsake you.”

At peace with the answer, the female cooed then fell asleep.

Amid her snores, the male got up and crept towards the door. Afraid of being discovered, I inferno-footed down the hallway by the time the thing opened its means of departure. Somewhere safely away, I saw the mosquito come out of the room.

Cupped in the odd anthropoid’s limb, something on the order of an iPod sat. He whispered, “I’m waiting for you, lovable owner of my libido, on the thirteenth floor.”

More or less, the distance between us was equivalent to 100 feet. Furthermore, I hid behind the corner of a wall that led to another section of the floor. Unluckily, my shadow revealed where I was.

Each of my eyes has hundreds of lenses, and they all see you, annoying voyeur. You want to know who I am, don’t you?” the creature said after spinning its head in my direction.

Sheepishly, I peered around to view the freakish speaker.

Let me reveal the guy behind the disguise,” the surreal spieler said as it stood up and turned into a tall nude man. That was not what amazed me. What summoned enough awe to make my heart quake in my chest was the newly made human form changed its colors over and over again. No joke, for quite a few minutes, it donned every shade known to humanity. I mean, it was black, then white and every hue in between. Obstructed by the distance, I could not make out miscreation’s facial changes.

I am as humdrum as a housefly. 20% of the male population that cheats in relationships is no different than what I am. Based on your expression, the General Social Survey (GSS) stat does not make you adore my existence. Nevertheless, you have known and will know more men of my kind.”

Pleased with his last declaration, he laughed, pitched the phone aside, and transformed into what I assumed was an English mastiff. Not being an expert, I think its skin had a brindle look to it.

No sooner had it transformed, another female trod out the elevator. This other lady reminded me of a fertility goddess I saw in a book. Aside from being nude as well as zaftig, her pallor and hair were stone-grey. Her voice, contrary to her size, was small and tinny.

My dog, are you still sugary and servile? Am I still your only mistress?”

Of course, I’m a loyal whelp,” the canine replied in a low growl.

That ended their exchange as the two took the elevator.

Fixated on information, I bolted over to the lift. Numbers above the machine indicated they went all the way down.

By way of the stairs, I ran to the ground floor and out onto the street. For my effort, all I got was sweat. The duo went somewhere beyond my two viewfinders.

The clerk peered out the entrance and asked, “Sir, is something wrong?”

I replied, “It bugs my brain the way some men are more promiscuous than dogs.”

Confused, he tilted his head leftward while I rightly questioned the saneness of mine.

The End

© Bob McNeil 2020 All Rights Reserved.

Lyrics of Mature Hearts by Bob McNeil – Poetry Anthology

In his landmark Surrealist novel Nadja, Andre Breton said, “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all.” This sentence perfectly conveys our involuntary attraction to both the Romantic and the macabre. It speaks to the love that exists in all things, whether it’s our treatment of life or the subject of death.

It is impossible to write anything of merit that does not acknowledge, in one way or another, the inevitability of decay. Humans, like all other species, are built for obsolescence. Still, this is a fact which is difficult for modern writers to confront and even rarer for readers to embrace.

This explains why older characters have become a bit of an endangered species in contemporary fiction. It also explains why everyone should pay attention to the new anthology from Bob McNeil and Gordon P. Bois.

In Lyrics of Mature Hearts, an independently-published collection of poetry, McNeil and his authors candidly deal with the issue of adulthood in various poetic variations.

The genesis of the project demonstrates the unpredictable paths that life takes us on as the sand passes through the hourglass. About a year ago, McNeil was approached by a talented Chicana poet on Facebook. She proposed a collaboration in which the pair would use Elizabeth and Robert Browning as sources of inspiration.

Although initially intrigued by the offer, McNeil ultimately thought it odd to express adoration for someone he wasn’t intimately familiar with. After giving the idea some more thought, he proposed they work on an anthology on life and love by older people.

The poet agreed, but eventually quit after the project became too difficult. McNeil was, by now, so committed to the project that he carried on without her. Soon, he and his colleagues had filled nearly 70 pages with lyrical works about the growth and growing pains of getting old as well as the prevailing love many of us carry, for life and for each other.

If all of this sounds somewhat maudlin consider this: Bob McNeil has penned some of the smartest short horror fiction of the 21st century; his work has appeared in several print anthologies from Deadman’s Tome, among others. Lyrics of Mature Hearts is more than just poems about the aging because McNeil is more than just another Poe wannabe.

Check out the book here.