Diet Coke
by Perrin Carrell
Perrin Carrell

Perrin Carrell is an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. His poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Exquisite Corpse Annual, Ophelia Street, The Coachella Review, and GC Advocate, among others. He is also the founder and director of the community-published poetry magazine, allwritethen (

A teenager named Chad Alexander blasted
me in the face with a high-powered
water gun. He was big. Over six feet,
over two hundred pounds. Big. He wouldn't
let me into my house—just kept squirting
and laughing and calling me a little shit.

At first I ignored him. Then I pretended
I liked it, reverse psychology, I don't know,
but it didn't take: I'm glad you like it
you little shit, and kept squirting.

When you're six and you're angry you cry
so I cried. And he loved it. And shot me
in the face some more and got the hose
when his gun ran out until I was just
sitting in the grass taking it.

I remember thinking how pissed
my mom was going to be that my backpack
was soaked with all my schoolwork inside.
We never had much she told me
not to ruin it; we couldn't afford another one.

Then Chad Alexander vanished into the air.

When I looked up I saw that my mom
had him against the building by his collar.
She pulled his shirt away from his body
and dumped 32 ounces of diet coke
down his front, threw the cup, anchored herself
and whirled around and tossed
Chad Alexander into the grass. Then she took
the gun by its nozzle and smashed it
to bits on the sidewalk.

She was panting. She wasn't in good shape.
She wiped her mouth and swallowed hard.
Who's the little shit now motherfucker?

We sat elbow to elbow in the grass,
both of us looking at her.

What do you think? Please send us your comments, including the name of the work you are commenting on.