Lower Your Muzzle
Megan Giddings

The horse's odds are one and one and you feel good about it while you stand near all the people with their nine-dollar mojitos. It seems like all the ladies are wearing silk roses on their hats and you think it means good luck. You'll spend the money on more drinks or maybe another bet or a new TV.

But then it fails. It breaks its leg, ca-rack. You fish the pistol out from between the starlight mints and the credit cards in your leather purse. You have to kill it because to not kill it would be cruel and you refuse to be someone cruel.

Its one dark eye says, thank you, thank you as you aim.

The next day, hung over and rushing to work, you slip down a flight of stairs, fall head over heels. You break your ankle and shatter your toes and are limp on the ugly carpet because for some reason you can't move your head. And the ambulance arrives—you wonder who called them, who could have known, who could have seen you—and the paramedics kill you fast because your eyes say yes please and because they are also people who do not like suffering.

And when you open your eyes, you look around and see somehow celestial tickets must've gotten swapped. The horse is definitely stuck in human heaven. It's probably holding a harp and having to look over your boring family. It will have to tell them the right lotto numbers and appear in visions during their triple bypass surgeries and you know, give a shit.

You, you're in equine paradise. Handsome, thin men wearing helmets and silks and long black boots clutch your face and tell you how lovely you are. In their mouths the words gaskins, coronet, and fetlock are sexy, loaded. They tremble in front of you and your large, white teeth. They offer sugar cubes that look expensive and sparkle as if they grew them in Liz Taylor's jewelry box just for you.

Megan Giddings has work in The Literary Review, Knee Jerk, kill author and others. She's an Executive Editor at SmokeLong.

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Philip Kirk.

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