‘Shoes for Napoleon’ by Lewis Manalo


From Guernica:

Chloe was a slut and had been one since college, so Ben Hooper would never sleep with her as a matter of principle. Despite her sexual habits, he respected her because she was a woman. With respect and no chance of sex, all Hooper had left for Chloe was his friendship.

“How’s this?” she asked.

Turning from the television, Hooper looked at Chloe. She wore very short red shorts and a billowy white shirt. Though she had wide features and was once mistaken for a transvestite, she could be lovely once you got used to her.

“It’s fine,” Hooper said.

“You don’t like the top.”

“The top is fine. It might be a little warm for long sleeves.” He turned back to the cartoons on the television. Chloe walked back into her bedroom.

Had he not been stoned that morning, Hooper would have been growing impatient with Chloe fussing so much over her damn clothes, but contemplating his cotton mouth and the goggle-eyed cartoon characters on TV, he had trouble caring.

…Read more