The Northville Review
an online literary journal
A Face to Hide His Mask Behind

Eric Beeny

Garvey sometimes wished he wasn’t born with such a perfect body, a body everyone from the neighborhood knew to compose just one man, called Garvey.

Not even a blemish to allow for some mockery of him to build some character.

He was left to proudly construct a man called Garvey, all by himself.

People used to see him bench pressing rose blossoms in his front yard with no one spotting him, doing pull-ups hanging from the gutter, sit-ups with his legs swung over the fence, his stomach muscles multiplying, dividing like a fertilized egg out from his bellybutton.

He once went through his days thinking himself so unique, jogging to the corner store in a white muscle tee and slippers, shades and Speedos, for expired milk maybe, freeze-dried vegetables, knock-off cereal brands.

One day Garvey ran to the store, surprise, surprise.

Someone spotted him coming out of the corner store and halfway home a car pulled up alongside him.

Machine-gun fire flew out from the backseat window like a flock of humming birds.

Most of the bullets missed Garvey, though, which was cool with him.

Lying there on an adjustable bed in the I.C.U., Garvey felt pretty bad about himself.

A few days later, Rory from the neighborhood came by to visit.

He opened the door to Garvey’s room, said, “Garv?”

“Over here,” Garvey said.

“Look at you.”

“Look at me.”

“How’re ya feeling?”

“Doc says I only caught six, right in the gut if you can believe that.”

“No shit.”


Rory from the neighborhood sat on the bed beside Garvey.

He looked at the box into which all these tubes ran out from Garvey, at all the numbers and symbols, foreign to him.

He listened to the heart monitor beeping and the breathing machines sighing, like a truck backing up and like a bus letting the air out of its tire to pick up passengers, or whatever it does with hydraulics.

“Could you…” Garvey said, looking at the remote control for the bed, nodding toward it.

“Yeah, sure,” Rory from the neighborhood said, and he got the remote and pressed the UP button with a green arrow on it, raising Garvey to a sitting position.

“So, you heard anything?” Garvey asked.

“Yeah,” Rory from the neighborhood said, laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“The shooting.”


“Yeah. They thought you were someone else.”

“Me?” Garvey tried sitting up. “They thought I was…”

“Just mistaken identity, man.”

Garvey picked up the remote, pressed the DOWN button with a red arrow on it, and, lying there, he turned his head away from Rory from the neighborhood and closed his eyes.

He found this information strangely comforting.

About the author

Eric Beeny’s work has recently or will appear in 3:AM, Abjective, Dogzplot, >Kill Author, Matchbook, Pear Noir!, Spilt Milk, among others. His small novel, The Dying Bloom, was published as an e-book by Pangur Ban Party. He’s a contributing editor for Gold Wake Press. His blog is Dead End on Progressive Ave. (