Going Bowling with Mohammed – I Wanted To Write A Short Story About by Ron Riekki

Going Bowling with Mohammed—I Wanted to Write a Short Story about
Mohammed, but I live in France and Charlie Hebdo happened recently, so I thought I’d keep it safe and just go bowling with Mohammed, so I called him up and he didn’t answer, so I started wondering if he was pissed off at me, but he was just working and then had to pick up his nephew, but after that he called me back and we went to this bowling alley in Ishpeming where my dad likes to go and nobody recognized him, which surprised the shit out of me, except it’s true that you don’t see a lot of depictions of Mohammed so it sort of made sense, like the time I drove Arthur Miller to a hotel in Boston and everybody at the front desk just walked by him like he was a nobody and I asked Arthur Miller why nobody recognized him and he said that’s the beautiful thing about being a writer is that you can be famous on the page and unknown in the face, which is basically how Mohammed is—real laid back and nice, so nobody needs to get worked up about how I’m portraying him; I’m just saying that Mohammed is a pretty nice guy, I mean, we got in a fight when I was in twelfth grade and he kicked my ass pretty bad in the back of my grandma’s car, but besides that we’ve pretty much been kinda cool with the exception that I never saw him again and he didn’t come to my wedding because it was completely Christian, because my girlfriend is French, I mean wife now and her dad is all French Catholic, which means he goes to church when he’s hungry and Mohammed bowled a 93, mostly because he doesn’t bowl, because he’s way too busy being this like massive iconic figure, sort of like Sean Penn, but with a lot less scripts to read and on the way home I asked Mohammed about the terrorists and he basically said that the word homosexual doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the Bible and look how fired up the evangelicals are, so imagine a text as thick as the Qur’an and imagine how badly that can turn into a landslide and he said that the more peaceful someone is, the more they’re being Islamic and I tried to trick him with a bunch of Hitler counterargument stuff, but he just stayed all calm as a rose in a field with absolutely no wind and it was then that I realized it wasn’t Mohammed who kicked my ass, but my cousin Todd who has a bit of a temper from his cerebral palsy and that Mohammed pretty much never did anything wrong, just like Jesus, and I wish I could be like that; I wish I could be like Mohammad and Jesus, but I’m a writer and it’s only people who don’t write who are really peaceful, because writing turns you into a beach in a hurricane.

Ron Riekki’s books include:
U.P.: a novel,
The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (a 2014 Michigan Notable Book)
Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
His play “Carol” was included in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2012 and his short story “The Family Jewel” was selected for The Best Small Fictions 2015. 

You can follow Ron Riekki on Twitter.

I Never Said I Wanted to be President by Moneta Goldsmith

Yuputka, noun. A Japanese term of endearment meaning ‘the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.’

In my life I’ve been with two Lindsays, one Kendrick, two Sarahs. I’ve heard oh yeahs and ooh babies, let me turn over, let me be on top of you. I’ve had one Jessica, a Shulameth, four Katelyns/Caitlins/Katies. Or some variety therein. I have screamed out ‘mother’ once (that was a mistake). I’ve let her turn over or be on top of me. Once I almost let a girl turn me over.

I never said I wanted to be president when I grow up.

I’ve been slapped and pinched until I was dizzy, and swung at harder than I was ready for. I have finger-banged girls who were scared, fondled dry clothes until they were wet dishrags. I got drunk and didn’t get up, and lied that it never happens. I got naked and yelled at on the streets of Denver; bird-dogged in the rain on the streets of Denver, in a lake in Maine with swimming fireflies. Under a skirt with a flashlight once—that was second grade.

I never said I wanted to be president.

I’ve had it in a movie theater, in a hammock, a Taurus, a Rav4, a pair of Priuses – that was a party. I’ve been with white trash, heard words like mean-mugged and motorboat and popsicle-raid. I’ve had three actresses. All of them rich, and melted into the same person.

I met the first lady once. She wasn’t so great up close.

I heard her make stirring speeches about kids and food and jazz.
I watched her give tired hugs and smiling handshakes.

When it was my turn to shake her hand I gave it a big squeeze and whispered,

‘Sheraton room 766.’

I told her, ‘I know what it’s like to want to be a man.’

Moneta Goldsmith was the 2013 Grand Prize winner of Spark Anthology’s poetry contest. His prose & poetry can be found in such places as Sparkle & Blink, Under the Influence, & Best New Writing 2014. Most recently, he co-founded the popular lit mag & reading series ‘When in Drought‘, which is based in Los Angeles.