Steve Orth


Your phone begins to ring. You look at your phone. It's your mom. You don't want to talk to your mom. Not right now, anyway. Maybe later you'll want to talk to her. But now's not a good time. You're not in the mood. You're trying to relax. You actually don't want to talk with anyone. Not right now, anyway. You just need some time to be alone with your thoughts. Oh no, your thoughts are terrifying.

Your thoughts are about the people you know. It seems like everyone hates you, doesn't it? It’s pretty obvious. Gary wasn’t very warm when you ran into him at the supermarket. Why didn't your friend Brenda like your post? Is Brenda mad at you? Only like seven people liked your post, and those seven people, like, who gives a shit about them. Maybe you should just delete the post. Maybe you should just delete the app. Later, you try to sleep, but you can't stop thinking. Thinking, thinking, thinking.

The next day, you call your mom. “Hi, Mom,” you say, and she says hello to you. You chat. It's nice talking to your mom. She gives you a little bit of a guilt trip about being hard to get on the phone, but it's not that bad of a guilt trip. It’s bearable. Then she brings up your post and how your post got lots of likes. You think maybe your mom is trolling you. And so, you ask her, point blank, “Mom, are you trolling me right now?” And then you have to explain what trolling is to your mom. Your Mom then says she loves you very much and would never ever troll you. And wouldn't it be nice to believe that?


My mom, my best friend

My companion

My confidant

My mom is great

She took me to the store

and let me pick out my own clothes

My mom, she is my rock

She's never in my business

and business is good

If you know what I mean

I mean I sell hard drugs to teens

Adults too

I sell primo shit

I sell all that stuff

And make lots of money

But still, I worry

I hope my mom

Does not find out

About my cool, fun job

She'd be so disappointed

And that would break my heart

Because I love my mom

I love my mom a lot.

Steve Orth writes fiction, poetry and plays. His chapbooks include Cyborg Legs (OMG!), A Perfect Day For Scottie Pippen (Cookie Books), and Lust For Life (Travelin' Lite.) He edited the DIY literary magazine Where Eagles Dare, curated Hybrid Moments reading series, and co-edited Summer BF Press with Lindsey Boldt. THE LIFE & TIMES OF STEVE ORTH (Dogpark Collective) is his first book. He lives in Oakland, CA.