Short Story. Mercury in Retrograde by Neil Stanoff

Short Story. Mercury in Retrograde by Neil Stanoff

Short Story. Today, enjoy this amazing story by the American author Neil Stanoff: Mercury in Retrograde. What do you think about horoscopes?


Mercury. Source: NASA

I had slept throughout most of the day. It always felt like poor sleep when I woke up angry, unable to decipher whether I had dreamed at all. The light poured in from an oversized window in the kitchen, brightness slanted my worn narrow eyes. I placed two fingers below my eyes, and felt sagging pillows of skin under them. The aftermath of a very bad year, the mathematical dividend of a breakdown. I sighed. I sat in a light wood chair that always reminded me of a Van Gogh painting I had seen in my sister’s room. I grabbed the blue and red tin of tobacco in front of me, looked for a minute at the cartoon of an Indian smoking on it, and rolled a cigarette. Lit the cigarette, passing through an ancient, beaten door. Portions of wood protruding, white paint peeling, two unnecessary nails hanging loosely. It was not a patio, but it was where I smoked. There was a white plastic chair with black dirt engrained at it’s base. The chair was evenly positioned on a square slab of concrete. On both sides of the chair there was desert landscaping of rocks, brown, gray, and red.

I sat on the chair, the legs felt flimsy. Stationary string, ready to swing and teeter. Ten feet in front of me was another apartment. I stared at the white metal screen door. There was a rusted design that resembled a music note on the screen. I took a long hit in from the cigarette. I was cursed, my view was not an ocean, not a sprawling metropolis. Not anything but a bizarre etching of a music note.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Nothing.” I said. The cigarette was half gone and I held it against my lips.

“I’m very tired.” I looked at her brown bronze skin. Lost in that skin, as if you could swim against the current of it’s depth. Looked at her feline copper eyes, as if you could stumble amongst their maze. “I’m very tired. I just got back from a healing service.”

“Like at a church?”

“No I do angel healing.”

“What is angel healing?”

“I talk to angels from other planets. I’ve always had this intuitive sense. I am divinely guided.” I looked away from her, trying to force receptivity from my face.

“What’s your sign?” she asked.


“Me too. You were born June 12th right?”

“No. May 31st,”

“Remember. Mercury is in retrograde until July 22nd. The planet is ruled by Mercury.. It can be a very strong energy against you. Get into nature, lay in the grass.”

I winced slowly, my vision suspended into the etching of the music note. I didn’t fathom the concept of retrograde. I didn’t feel like I should. I opened my left hand, and let the cigarette drop from my palm. Landing half a foot from the clay ashtray. We stood up simultaneously and I opened the door handle.

“Oh!” she said, turning her neck into her dark shoulders, gliding a thin wisp of bangs against her face. Her eyes became excited, magnified. “Don’t forget to talk to arch-angel Michael. Oh! And Gabriel.”

“I wont forget.” I closed the door, erupted suddenly in laughter. Reflectively standing for a long moment. Pausing, hung in an awkward stillness. As crazy as it all was it didn’t really matter if you were kind and wanted love. I wanted none of these things which is why I could never hold onto a belief system. I still wanted to fuck her. I thought about if the world would beckon on July 22nd, fulfilling all of my longings. It was much easier to wait for things and sometimes you had to. I rolled another cigarette.

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was born in Los Angeles in 1981, and grew up in the Hollywood system as a kid actor. Most notably he had a cameo in Brad Pitt’s first movie Cutting Class. He has been a professional writer since the age of 18. His first collection of work is entitled Somatic Jazz: The Early Years and spans the ages of 16-26. He is hard at work on his second novel, a manic tale of call center culture called Automated Dialer. Neil resides in sunny Tempe, Arizona and still claims to be the “New Hemingway.”

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