VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Mather Schneider


I get an email from the very nice man

who published one of my books. 

“Mather, did you move to Mexico?

I need to know where to send your royalty check.

Hope you’re having a good time.”

I read it on the toilet

in this crappy hotel

while a spider runs across my foot.

It’s the third day

of diarrhea

from a reaction to antibiotics

that the dentist prescribed here in Hermosillo

after ripping out 3 molars.

I’m worried about a gut infection 

called Clostridium Difficile.  

“C Diff” is the cute nickname for it 

in the online medical chatrooms.

They say excrement from C Diff is so foul

you will never forget it once you’ve smelled it,

it will give you nightmares

and has been known to make the most 

callous nurse shudder and cry.

The last royalty check I received

was $2.37.

That was 6 months ago

when I still had a mailbox

and a job

and all my teeth. 

I didn’t cash it.

It’s still there

between the pages 

of Don Quixote

to keep me from forgetting my place. 


Boy we are cute
aren’t we?

And we are pretty durned
clever, cool as

lilacs in Cleveland.
What’s not to love

between the look
of our handwriting

and the smell
of our farts?

I refuse to believe
we could get any slicker

or smarter
or hipper

or become better dressers
or come up

with a better hair style
or a lower way

to wear our jeans.
I mean really

what we’ve got now is
pretty freaking

perfect. We deserve to just take

some time

and meditate
on our own greatness.


For 2 hours you sit trying to work

up the nerve to call a call-girl.

You dial 3 digits of a phone number,

hang up. You dial 5 digits next time,

hang up. Malarial with adrenaline.

Finally, all 7 numbers and an answering

machine: you come up 

with a code-name delivered 

in a macho pitch. You hold your hand

on the phone for a while after. Later

the clock tells you it was all a dream

and you’re looking out the window

when the ring jumps up your rectum. Hell-

o? When she asks for Don, you blush,

then she sells herself like a blurb

on a video box. She asks obligatorily

if you’re a cop, then drops an hourly 

number like hot oil in your ear, 

2-day’s pay but no haggling.

You catch your breath as the truth

sinks in. You say ok. 

And then there’s nothing left 

but details: a time slot; your major 

cross streets; where she should park. 


She had a harelip

he says.

You ever had a woman with a harelip?

He’s 40 something

face unctuous and bloated from alcohol.

She had a nice ass, he says

and a wad of money

and she needed a drink

so we bought two bottles of Mad Dog

and went to the park

and after we drank those we came in here

and that’s when she went crazy.

Well we got kicked out of here and then

went back to her hotel where

some other nutball broad was hanging out

and I thought shit

the pussy’s coming down

the pussy’s coming down

but actually

the pussy never came down.

I tell you what I was lucky

to get out of there with my life.

It’s amazing how they play you.

I met her at the Greyhound station.

I was buying a ticket to San Diego.

Fifty three bucks.

I’m leaving tomorrow.

I know this guy there who has a used car lot

and he needs someone to stand out by the road in a bear suit

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.

3 thoughts on “VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Mather Schneider

  1. Thanks Mike Zone for giving writers like Mather a voice. There is life here, identifiable living that comes through… No pretense. Grateful for the real thing via Mather Schneider.


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