This story is paired with Chapter XVII of Bulfinch’s Mythology. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.
I mean I loved the guy and all, but I swear he put that snake in my path, just to fulfill a stupid prophecy—and now he’s tracking me down in Hades and my message to him:
Step off, dude. I have no intention of coming back to you.
I’m happy where I am. I smoke cigarettes and opium for breakfast. I copulate with men, women, animals, and sometimes even plants. Plants are sexy down here—the furry stamen, the unfolding of the blossom, the colors. It’s wild. It’s like making love to the universe.
Then I hear him singing his sad little song, all minor keys, and dissonance and what a poet he thinks he is—but the truth of the matter is that there are 10 boys who are 10 times better than him, and one day he will learn that lesson, but that’s not for me to decide. I’m dead and I’m gone and there is no reason for me to ever come back. He has to learn to live with that guilt, that’s not my problem.
There are girls down here who still think they can return—poor Persephone, seduced by pomegranate seeds, a girl forever in love with her mother. A girl forever in love with spring. The rivers are dark down here, and they smell like dirty sex, which is the best kind. And now I’m immortal and immune to judgments about what a woman can and can’t do, and to tell the truth, it’s a relief.
Yes, I miss the sunlight. And yes I miss the stars, and the rain and the moon at night, but down here I write my own poetry, sing my own songs, dress in black, and have snakes growing out of my head. I copied this from Medusa (who, by the way, is a total hottie).
Hear it? That’s him, Orpheus. Calling to me.
Eurydice! Come back to me.
Plucking the strings of that goddamn lute. Now the fake tears. Now the gnashing of his teeth. Jesus. Get a life. I’m not a coda to your story anymore.
Lillian Ann Slugocki’s works include The Erotica Project, co-authored with Erin Cressida Wilson, erotic short fiction anthologized by Cleis Press, and “Diary of a Divorce” published on Salon, expanded into the novella, The Blue Hours. She’s also been published by Seal Press, Heinemann Press, Newtown Press, Spuyten Duyvil Press, as well as Bloom/The Millions, Beatrice, HerKind/Vida, Deep Water Literary Journal, Beatriece, The Nervous Breakdown, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, and THE FEM as well as a novella, “How to Travel with Your Demons,” Spuyten Duyvil Press. MA from NYU.