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Poetry: Them 4 by Paul Tanner

them 4

4 pallets came in. the boss said: quit your bitching, it’s only 4 pallets, 
you can have that done in no time!
so I cornered him in the warehouse, pinned him down and
got my thumb under his eye and lifted it until the eyeball popped out
and I said to him, look, I’ll let you live if you eat it, and I sat on his chest
and watched him chew the eyeball: eat it all up now, I warned him
and he did, with numerous shades of pink dribble cascading down his chin.
he had trouble swallowing, what with me sitting on his chest, but fair play to 
him, he gave it the old college try, doing a cartoon gulp that made his neck
elongate and his jaw jut like he was doing a chicken impression. 
then I left him in the storage freezers to freeze mid-scream. 
no one’s found him yet. not surprised, really. he blends in, hanging there among
all the other cheap meat.
anyhoo: went onto the floor and got a full-fat coke: 
needed the sugar to justify the adrenalin, you know? and 
fuck me: 90p for a 330ml can! no, not even that: 250ml! bloody sugar tax. 

About the author

TANNER has been earning minimum wage, and writing about it, for too long. He was shortlisted for the Erbacce 2020 Poetry Prize. “Shop Talk: Poems for Shop Workers” was published last year by Penniless Press. “No Refunds: Poems and cartoons from your local supermarket” is out now, from Alien Buddha Press.

Other work by Paul Tanner on Flashes

Poems by Paul Tanner

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Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.
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