A fat girl standing in the

doorway of WALGREENS

“can you buy me something?

I have not eaten all day.”

She follows me inside.

Tells me her name, “Jen.”

“What’s yours?”

I mumble “Wayne.”


“Yeah, Duane.”

In the candy aisle she

reaches for a bag of

peanut butter M & M’s

on sale, 2 for 8 dollars.

“Can I have two?”


She scoots down the aisle

and around the corner.

Returns with a pint of

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

On our way to check-out

I notice she has three bags

of candy, and tell her put one


At check-out she has something

to say to everyone:

asks a woman why she, the

woman, is buying so many

diapers. Compliments another

on her attire. At the register

she introduces me to the

cashier: “This is Duane, he

is helping me. I have not eaten

all day.” The cashier has polished

and buffed fingernails. She and

Jen have a lot to say to one

another about fingernails.

Finally, I get to pay.

Outside the store I bank a right.

“Thank you” she calls from

behind. “OK” I grunt, not

begrudging the girl the food

but hoping she does not make

a habit of asking.


He walks up to me

on the sidewalk: a little

guy, egg-shaped head,

glasses: “They stole my

car,” he says.

“No shit.”

“Yeah. I had it parked in the

parking lot.”

“How they do it?”

“I don’t know. Still have the key.”

He shows me his key.

“The cops gave me a ride home.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Yeah. Now I have to break into my


“Oh boy…Well, good luck.”


I walk away wondering if

I could have helped him.

Maybe drove him around to look

for his car?

A week later: same guy, same

sidewalk: “hey, they stole my car.”

“Is that right?”

“Yeah. I had it parked in the supermarket

parking lot.”

“You get a lot of cars stolen from you

don’t you?”

“The cops are out looking for it.”

“Oh. Well, maybe they will find it.”


“Well, good luck,” I say.

He calls to me as I walk away:

“Afghanistan has fallen!”

“Oh geeze” I say.

“Oh Geeze.”


I go up to the store counter to pay

for my sandwich

and discover that

I do not have my wallet on me.

“That’s alright,” the counter-guy says, “pay

me next time.”

I thank him and leave, feeling

a little ashamed because

I have never liked the guy—

have disparaged him in my head


It is the first time

anyone in this town

has extended credit to


Not so bad a burgh, this town

after all

I tell myself, tootling down the

sun-lit sidewalk. Not so ugly a dump,

suddenly; not as hostile-seeming…

“Don’t go back there,” a voice

in my head says.

“Fuck ‘em.”

Published by Mike Zone

Mike Zone is the former Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press and managing editor of Concrete Mist Press. The author of Screaming in the End: Poems and Stories, Fuck You: A Fucking Poetry Chap, Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse , as well as coauthor of The Grind and Razorville. A frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Black Shamrock Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, and Cult Culture magazine.

One thought on “VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Wayne Burke

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: