Kevin Tosca

Father, Mother, Lover, Friend

My Father Once Told Me

My father once told me never to forget that there’s always someone better than you out there. We were shooting pool in O’Grady’s. The place was afternoon empty. The Irish music loud and obnoxious. He said, “You may be able to hustle this room, but next door, or in the next town or state or country, someone exists who can hustle you. This applies to everything.” “Sex?” I asked. “Everything,” my father said.

My Mother Once Told Me

“Sex,” my mother once told me, “changes everything.” We were in the kitchen. With knives and other vicious objects. With the night’s spaghetti sauce gurgling on the stovetop, my grandmother’s no longer secret recipe. “So is it ever,” I asked, “just sex?” “No,” my mother said, more confident than I had ever heard her. “Never!”

A Lover Once Told Me

But a lover once told me yes, “Of course it can be just sex.” We were in the bedroom. Naked and eager and still full of timeless illusions. “If that’s true,” I said, matching her wicked smile, “then it’s all right if I fuck your daughter?” This daughter was legal, intelligent, mature. Every time I saw her, I saw unmistakable signals, but her mother rushed to put on the clothes she had just stripped off.

A Friend Once Told Me

A middle-aged man, an old friend I had never considered unwise, once told me that he encourages, in all the sly and clever ways he can, his third wife’s extra-marital dalliances. We were drinking Bolivian coffee in a dark bar called Hell On Earth. Hell On Earth had just opened for business. The coffee was mild and excellent. “Let the others do the heavy lifting,” he said, “does wonders for the peace.” “And if she wanted,” I asked, “to fuck one of your sons? Fuck his brains out?” His two sons were in their mid-twenties, handsome boys a decade or so younger than his most recent wife. My friend just laughed and laughed. Not, mind you, as if the idea were preposterous or perverted, but more as if it tickled him, some part of him, profoundly.

After a decade in Europe, Kevin Tosca now lives in Canada. His stories have appeared in Bateau, The Frogmore Papers, decomP, Paper Darts, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, and elsewhere. Poetry in Motion, a fiction chapbook, is forthcoming from Červená Barva Press later this year. The same press will publish Ploieşti, a story collection set in Romania, in 2019. Find him at kevintosca.com.
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