Four Fictions from Debra Di Blasi’s Today Is the Day That Will Matter: Oral Histories from the New America #AlternativeFictions

Debra Di Blasi

Her Father, Reclining

The daughter must wait on him hand and foot. Her hand flutters at the foot of his bed where he is reclining naked, exposed, his pebbly ass facing her each time she enters the room with a gold tray of milk and Nutella and salt-free butter sandwiches fried in butter. He loves her cooking. He loves her breasts, still perky after three kids. How’s that possible? They bobble, the breasts, her kids’ heads. Dogs in the back window of a big black car. He’s always putting an arm around her shoulder, fatherly, except when he accidentally brushes his fingers against one of her nipples. He claims, however, there are no accidents. Claims he lives an intentional life. Behaves purposefully. Calculation and premeditation, deliberate and planned. (He uses a thesaurus. He uses God.) He says, Come around to this side and let me get a good look at you. Penis almost hard, hard as it can. Truth is, he would like to fuck her brains out. Literally. Make her head hollow so he can fill it with his ideas that she, still full-headed, finds ridiculous. But the father is rich. So what can she do. There’s vanilla-scented oil on the nightstand. She pours it on his back and massages his shoulders, his ass and thighs. He moans with oily pleasure. Something in the back of her throat wants to come up. Out. Does she wish he’d die of butter overdose? Maybe. She tries not to think about it. Except when she’s fixing him a sandwich, schmearing increasingly large knobs of butter on white bread. The whitest bread.


The Gentlemen, as they’re called, walk in naked, cocks ranging from hard to medium to soft. The Ladies, as they’re called, are made to squat on chairs or sit spread eagle, otherwise it’s just not equitable.

No coffee today! Spillage.

Orange juice? Too much acid.

Cola? Sticky.

So the naked secretary sets down a glass pitcher—no ice, water distilled like the meeting minutes.

Shall we go to war? Aye! Shall we kill the poor? Aye! Shall we rhyme in time to shuffle out the door? Aye, aye, aye! 

The guy at the butt of the table looks out at a perfectly empty blue sky. He imagines he’s Icarus, but smarter: instead of wax and feathers, human skin stretched so taut the yellow bruises resemble goldenrod; black scabs like starlings schooling; and scars, his father. He presses the palm of his left hand to his forehead. Vote! He ejaculates. Aye! Aye! Aye!

The Oriental rug under the big long wood table’s mired with cum “nearly twelve inches deep,” they shall claim, though it’s likely only six inches.

The Ladies stick either one finger (Nay!) or two fingers (Aye!) up their cunts. It’s a twofinger day, and you think you’re dreaming but when you wake in a hotel bed halfway around the world the news is on and it’s all become real.

Foreign Relations

There’s no wiggle room when the missile launches. Unless you’re North Korea. Do Kim Jong Un’s engineers secretly sabotage warheads to ensure they cannot reach Japan or the United States because … well, they know. They know. (Do they?) Supreme Commander, however, does not.

Oh, it’s a struggle!

Grandfather’s ghost disapproves, tsk-tsking, and Father’s ghost causes Dear Respected Comrade night sweats. Or is it the roast dog and duck followed by ice cream and pizza, a late night snack of whole pig? Who really likes kimchi anyway, he asks, except as Intangible Cultural Heritage, except as secret capitalist profit!

Those American bastards!

When a missile ignites it’s like his cock is aflame, rising, hard and dangerous and packed with nuclear seed. Then it explodes or prematurely crashes into the ocean. Boop-boop! Heads roll, don’t they? Brain drain of another sort.

Yes, it’s a struggle.

John McCain called him a crazy fat kid. Chinese youth called him Kim Fatty the Third on social media until the Chinese government censored the epithet. The youth then switched to Kim Fat Fat Fat and seems there’s no crime in that.

Should we call dicktaters names? asks Twitter.

Weibo replies, 是. Wiggle wiggle wiggle.

We are bullies. We are precise.

The Alchemist Bleeding

Governor Clement James Buchanan Bullery was aborted by his mother but lived anyway. That’s how stubborn he is. Crawled right out of the trashbin into the light of public office. He never mentions his mother except to make oblique comments about That Harridan, usually in such context as, So what, That Harridan’s done a lot worse! Or, It’s not my fault, blame That Harridan!

No, no, no, nothing’s ever the Governor’s fault, except when things turn out well. He says, Not my fault, and then shit-hitting-the-fan alchemically turns to gold and he says, My fault! I did that!

Do you hate him?

Hate’s such a strong word.

The emotion, though.

Well …

His wife, the First Lady, caught him pissing in the bushes, specifically on her heirloom white roses near the south lawn of the Governor’s mansion. She drawled, What the hell, Clement! He retorted, Not my fault! Dreamed about That Harridan so I’m sleepwalking! He zipped his fly and caught his dick in it. Ow! he screamed. That Harridan

She’s dead, his mother. Dead for years. But security claims they see her haunting the capital lawn, humming and filing her nails, which resemble sloth claws.

The good goddamn Gov can’t figure out where all the scratches on his dick are coming from.

First Lady chain-smokes in bed and drinks bourbon—neat—while watching reality crime shows. In tonight’s episode, a wife poisons her husband using ricin derived from castor beans nearly impossible to detect in a postmortem.

That Harridan,” First Lady whispers while maniacally filing her nails.

She grins.

She snickers.

Debra Di Blasi is author of six books, including Prayers of An Accidental Nature (Coffee House Press), The Jiri Chronicles (University of Alabama Press/FC2), and Drought & Say What You Like (New Directions), which won the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award. The film based on Drought won a host of national and international awards, and was one of only six US films invited to the Universe Elle section of the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival. Her hybrid memoir, Selling the Farm: Descants from a Recollected Past, was recently named finalist in Four Way Books’ Larry Levis Poetry Prize, semifinalist in Seneca Review’s Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Award, and semifinalist in Pleiades‘ Robert C. Jones Short Prose Award. Other awards include a James C. McCormick Fiction Fellowship, &NOW Award, and DIAGRAM Innovative Fiction Award. Her writing has also appeared in Triquarterly, The Collagist, Boulevard, Chelsea, The Iowa Review, Kestrel, The Los Angeles Review, New Letters, New South, Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, among others, and in notable anthologies of innovative writing. She is a former publisher, educator, and art columnist. More at

Check out HFR’s book catalog, publicity list, submission manager, and buy merch from our Spring store. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.