The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Inside Joke, Explained: Get Some Strange

Marcelle Heath

At the progressive dinner party, everyone got a little drunk and stopped after the third house. Vegetable platters were left uneaten. A few of the husbands took over the kids’ video game. Someone rubbed the dog the wrong way, and it bit him. Calvin and Iris introduced themselves to more new neighbors. Calvin pointed to their house. “The one with the garage,” the hostess explained. The previous owners expanded the roof to make room for their RV. Iris was going to turn it into a recording studio. One of the women called after two shirtless boys, eleven or twelve, skateboarding down the street. They called back, laughing.

Calvin and Iris held hands on the way home. When one of them left for work or went to the grocery store, they’d repeat what the boys said. “Be back soon. I’m out to get some strange!” Or, “Need anything? I’m getting some strange.”

The next summer, they declined an invitation to attend a neighborhood cookout. The boys grew up and wore their hair in golden ringlets. Iris spent most nights in her studio. Years later, Calvin was driving and a song came on the radio. “I love this song!” His pretty companion said, turning up the volume. “My ex-wife wrote that,” he told her, proudly.

About the author

Marcelle Heath is a fiction writer, freelance editor, and assistant editor for Luna Park Review. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner and two dogs, two cats, and one red-footed tortoise. You can read more of her work at her website,