previously on the Murky Fringe

Uncle Ed's Sayins by Melissa Swantkowski

How Uncle Ed Can Talk Anybody Outta Doin' Something Stupid

Bless your heart.

Quit dancin' around like you got chiggers in your britches now and tell Uncle Ed the truth.

You're bein' bout as useful as tits on a tractor.

I'm just saying. Bless your lil...Ain't no shame in a woman cryin'.

You know I live by a man cain't afford but two beers deserves a third. Go run down that cooler and fetch me one 'for I listen to your nonsense.

Shug, you could ruin a two car funeral with that frown. Pop one 'em open.

Whad I tell you last time? If bullfrogs had wings they wouldn't bump asses when they jumped.

Bless that heart. Blessit. You all off kilter. Put both oars in the water and row, now.

The sun cain't shine on the dog's tail all the time.

Well, hon, I'm just saying. He's uglier than a mud fence.

I'm just gonna say, you gotta watch out. You lie like a no-legged dog.

I done said already I can smell it worse than two cats fightin'.

I'm not sayin nothin at all 'cept if I's the one fell in a bucket a titties wouldn't be me coming out sucking my thumb.

Bless your heart, I don't mean nothing by that. You gotta let your get skin thicker than a chicken on a nest a water moccasins you wanna get anywhere good.

That boy ain't got nothing but a thumpin' gizzard for heart. You ask your mama what a gizzard good for.

Like I told your sister, you gotta skin a snake 'for you can get to the meat.

Now listen up. Just 'cause you put two kids the oven don't make 'em buiscuts.

That's right. Go'on. Bless your heart. No difference tween you and me 'cept god's love.


Recovered Notes from An Only Childhood by Melissa Swantkowski

Guess Who? It's always Mom, Dad, or Imaginary Little Brother. 

Games to play alone: Rubik's Cube, jump-rope, lone wolf in big back yard 

Always in the middle, always Monkey, still looking at the sky.

Games to stop playing by myself: Monopoly

No bruises from dodgeball! 

Still hiding...

Guess who always wins at H-O-R-S-E. 


Gave Chicken Pox back to myself. Mom said this was impossible. Points to evidence of Real Imaginary Little Brother.


Games to seriously STOP playing alone: Jenga, Twister, War. 




If All Your Bad Dates Happened on the Same Night by Melissa Swantkowski

Date invites you to a lounge. He says: You should dress up. It’s that kind of place. I'll be in my designer jeans because when I dress nice I act less pervy.

You ask: What is a lounge? No one will tell me?

Date cancels date via text just minutes after date is scheduled to begin. Then Date shows up. When questioned, says: Shit, cancelled the wrong one of you.

Date hides teased and permed blond hair under hat until drinks have been ordered but not paid for. Unleashes it in slo-mo: hat off, deep neck roll, hair toss, smile. 

Date says: I have to pee. The last girl who went out with me left when I went to bathroom. Can we neck before I go?


Look longingly at the revolving door when Date takes verb "to neck" literally.

Date details recent shoulder injury. Date details daily diet. Date details five year plan. Includes you.

Invent old hockey injury. Invent lesbian leaning future. Describe your last period for sake of conversation. Detail.

Date asserts that teased and permed blond hair is the best thing going for him. Date says: This hair is the one thing that will never change.

You say: But surely you have a job? An apartment? A nagging sense of guilt over the repeated teasing of your follicles? 

Date picks fight about appetizers over appetizers. Pounds fist on table, says, "I like to make sure a girl can hold her own." 

Find long crimpy blond hair in drink. Find long crimpy blond hair on table. Find long crimpy blond hair in teeth three weeks later.  

Date sneaks bottle of whiskey into the movie theater. Finishes it during previews. Hands over empty bottle.

Self-soothe with the fumes.

Date avoids pickles as general rule. Reveal that you are made of salt and/or brine.

Date buys dessert to share, opens messenger bag to show a toothbrush, asks you to take his virginity.

Date trips on uneven sidewalk, cracks both front teeth on the curb.

As Date recovers dignity, collect white specks of tooth to blow into wind like dandelion fluff.

Date says: This is as good a time as any for me to invite you to Queens to meet my Beta fish.

You say: What is a lounge. No one will tell me.