by Paul Handley


I have a fantasy about being in day-long fantasy rotisserie as they used to call them. I start out at the doughnut shop. This place is heaven under a glass case. Powdered, chocolate cake, old fashioneds, crullers, or freakishly over the top that are sprinkled with breakfast cereal or wrapped in bacon with a crown of butterscotch chips. Crullers are reliable performers and I decide to go with them. I get in line and ask the owner if at the end of the day he can tell me which doughnuts sold the most. He tells me to get lost.

I’m used to this from the less popular rotisseries. So I just watched for about ten minutes, the owner glancing over at me and shaking his head at my persistence. The proprietor might preside over heaven, but he is an imp clad in a sugar powder coated smock. The freakishly over-the-top doughnuts win in a final five minute shift of momentum. I should have called an audible based upon the prime movers of the shifting neighborhood demographics making themselves known in the queue. 

Next I walk up to a newsstand with magazine cover of models wearing spring, summer, fall or winter wear. It’s October so I guess summer wear will predominate. I’m wrong as it’s none of the above, but haute couture featuring models wearing items such as a rowboat composed of light board around her waist, a gourd garden traveling the length of her legs, and flannel bed robes as formal wear.  

It’s been a slow start, but I soldier on. At work I immediately get online to see what movies and books are coming out this weekend. Will most of them feature a spy, monster, law enforcement officer, super hero, adolescent adult male or a cook?  I select adolescent adult male and this time I am the big winner. I think I could have got some extra points if I would have considered crossover from some of the other categories, but I got this one in the bag. No sense rubbing it in.

If ever a category cried out for fantasy it is politics. I conduct an engine search for the most popular Presidential poll taken this week and find out who gained the most. An alternative and often more fun, is to select who dropped the farthest. I don’t choose candidates by name, but classify them by their caricatures created by media designations. Talks plain and voters would like to have a beer with and be the father figure that occasionally makes a guest appearance on your favorite sitcom, egghead, bitch, ditz, nostalgic for the sixties, nostalgic for the fifties, enfant terrible, balmy, and lay imprint of vocational success in unrelated field over government.  

I go with lay imprint of vocational success in unrelated field over government because obviously smart, but not threatening because the candidate knows as much about government as voters do. I’m correct, which to toot my horn, is even more impressive considering my starter had to overcome a gaffe involving smearing an entire minority group. Luckily, the minority group’s popularity has been displaying signs of sluggishness. Perhaps, this is a fantasy competition to explore for next week.  

The final leg of fantasy day is tricky due to fairness issues, but I believe equitability has been achieved. On which part of my commute home will I encounter the newest brewery or distillery?  I take a train to the city, shuttle across town and then take a bus to my apartment. The train ride is semi-rural and suburban which on first glance seems unfair because it is less ideal for attracting patrons. On the other hand, it is less costly to build, perhaps more lenient codification, and those who lack access to city artisan alcoholic resources are thrilled with a local gathering place. The shuttle runs right through the downtown, by definition the seat of the action. The bus had bits of both the advantages and disadvantages of the aforementioned.  

I pick the bus and admittedly win in an unconventional manner. It is new in the narrow sense of not possessing convening dependability. It has the most alcohol I have seen on my trip and if the passengers are not actively drinking their scent and behavior is evidence of having alcohol in their blood stream.          

Am I the shit or in the shit at the end of the day?  Shit fire, somewhere in-between. I need a good pep talk. Mediocrity does not become me, even in a fantasy.



Paul Handley’s fiction has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Gone Lawn, The Cossack, and the Ostrich Review. He was a runner-up for the William Richey 2015 Short Fiction Contest judged by Aimee Bender.