by Patrick Cooper

“Robbie” Robertson stood in line at Ace Hardware with his pesticides when he spotted the “Assorted Fish Sticker Pack” on the impulse display. What sold him was the sticker of a great white shark, looking too vicious.

“Oh man, that’s going on the truck,” he assured himself.

He carefully placed the shark sticker on the tailgate, right beneath the Dodge Ram logo. The rest of the stickers were shoved in the glove box and forgotten.

On Wednesday, his supervisor at the mulch yard caught sight of the great white and said, “Well shit, nice, Robbie.”

“You like that shit?” Robbie said.

Three weeks later, Robbie lurched out of the Parrot Inn – five Jack and Cokes deep and feeling like the breeze. He reached in the glove box for his mints and pulled out the rest of the sticker pack.

A rainbow trout. A catfish. A bass. Several more characters from the underwater kingdom. A smile formed on Robbie’s rosy face.

He hiccupped and said, “Heh, why not.”

The next morning, Robbie threw his toolbox in the truck and saw the giant collage of fish stickers sloppily placed across the tail of his Dodge.

“Goddammit,” he concluded.

Patrick Cooper's writing has appeared in ThugLit, Spinetingler, Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, Dark Corners, and other venues, as well as in the anthologies "Fast Women & Neon Lights" and "Shadows in Salem." He lives in eastern PA with his wife and dog. Check him out at: