The penis arrives in her inbox.

The corporal’s wife gasps as she scrolls through. The grainy photo’s subject is in focus, an erection webbed with veins.

Later, a new flirtation pings its arrival. A staged picture: bespectacled woman straddles a teacher’s desk, short skirt hiked up. Someone’s chalked π on the blackboard: 3.1415926535… Oh.

A man behind. Mouths agape, a moan. Oh.

She snaps her laptop shut, yet the images continue to stream, crawl across her closed eyelids as she stirs rice the only time she’s supposed to stir it. Dinner’s blanched, boring.

Bedtime, and she tucks hospital corners on the king-sized, forgets email. On the other side of their fallow bed, the officer snores, percale distance between them. She abandons counting sheep, sighs. She’ll never understand mathematics when one plus one never adds up to anything.

She falls asleep with her hand inside the elastic of her best panties.

Cate McGowan

Cate McGowan

Cate McGowan is the author of the story collection, True Places Never Are (Moon City Press, 2015), winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award and a finalist for the Lascaux Review 2015 Short Fiction Collection Contest. A Georgia native whose flash has been anthologized in W. W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, she's contributed fiction and poetry to many literary publications, including Glimmer Train, Crab Orchard Review, Louisville Review, Moon City Review, Vestal Review, and the English fashion magazine, Tank. Cate’s been an editor for the Louisville Reviewand SFWP and an arts writer and essayist for national outlets. Named a top college professor on Rate My, McGowan teaches writing and humanities in Florida.
Cate McGowan

Latest posts by Cate McGowan (see all)