Suppertime by Peter Farris.

I’m mindful of snakes.

You’ve got to be. The property is thick with knee-high grass. Dog fennel.

Could be a canebrake or cottonmouth?  You never know. 

I cock an ear, listening for a rattle and think, “How’d it come to this?”

This being the cabin. I have other homes, too. Thanks to all those bestsellers. New York. Iowa City or Missoula if I’m teaching. Los Angeles for the work. Georgia for the peace and quiet.  

Because it’s quiet I need after meeting another deadline. When I want to wake up to a cold beer. The Winchester above the stone fireplace. A butt naked Shanda or Ashley on the bearskin rug, drawl thick as an oil change, telling me about beauty school. Or a sick Daddy. Or the lousy tip from last night.

Some of ‘em I let go. Some of ‘em I keep.

There’s my johnboat at the end of the dock, shimmering like a Cadillac. Titmice sounding distressed no matter the hour. Darters spearing their lunch. I never noticed them till now.

I light a cigarette and ponder which drag could give me cancer.

Then walk, barefoot, to the edge of the pond. Thinking of that reviewer from the New York Times. He thinks I’m brilliant. They all do. 

But I’m not.

I’m naked.

I enter the water.

Thinking of the girls I killed in my books.

And the real ones I fed to this pond.

I stand, waist-high in muck, ready to meet my maker.

Waiting for the first gator to grab an ankle and roll. Fill my lungs with the murky depths. 

Happy my girls will have the last laugh after all.

Peter Farris a writer from Cobb County, GA. His debut novel will be published by Macmillan/Forge next summer. Find him online at or follow him on Twitter (@pjfarris)


David Barber said...

I really liked this piece, Peter. It had menace but also sadness. I liked the way you made me feel slightly sorry for a killer.

Great writing. Well done.

McDroll said...

Oh my, didn't expect that! A crime writer who kills! ...and what a way to go, standing there like bait. Well done.

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

Nasty southern buggy feel to this one. Too bad he decided to feed his bad self to the gators - he'd be an interesting character to keep around for a little more excitement.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Harsh and sad and beaut.

Steve Weddle said...


Glenn Gray said...

So much in a few words. Great job.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Liked that and would read more of this character. Especially enjoyed your writing style.

Thomas Pluck said...

Short and bittersweet. Well done!

Peter Farris said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, y'all. It's much appreciated.

Erin Cole said...

I enjoyed the voice of this piece and the style - choppy good, everyword counted, and had a killer wrap up.
Great work!

Groovydaz40 said...

Sharp. Tight. Sublime.

Chris said...

Perfect timing, considering I just started watching SWAMP PEOPLE last night.

Nice work, Pete.

Chris Allinotte said...

"But I’m not.

I’m naked."

Those lines set this apart from the standard "psycho killer" story.

Your build-up to the end was very well done, and the descriptions are fantastic ("southern drawls as thick as oil" is memorable).

Great story.

William Dylan Powell said...

Awesome! Love the atmosphere; that's a great little story.

Jaie D. Maclane said...

Interesting he's mindful of snakes but content with the alligators. Lots of rolling detail for such a short piece. Nice.

Bill Baber said...

that's some good stuff right there!