Sal Buttaci’s maskuline entry into our contest

Good Morning, Literati!

Ahh!  The scent of a woman!

Sal Buttaci rose to the occasion to enter our contest “A Dozen Roses from a Single Thorn” and has given us filtered scentences to describe the aroma of his own true love!

Entries are beginning to pile up, but look for the damn to break this weekend when those of us behind the curtain will have more time for romance.

Here is


by Sal Buttaci

He imagined the black-robed, gas-masked Dr.Yaroz, scratching a claw at the blackboard and droning on like some giant insect. It was a game Armando played –– a war game that sometimes helped him blot out the stench of oppression gripping a once free America. Daydreaming served as an all too temporary respite.

Chalk in hand, Yaroz was facing them again. His dark wings, thick waving antennae, scaly crust, claws –– all gray vapors fading away. The class sat in their own black gas masks, a colony of attentive ants.

“History teaches us lessons we best heed,” Yaroz began, tossing a glance at the blackboard where he had written next to each presidential administration one, two, or more historical fiascos that impacted the nation and repeated themselves, precisely, he said, because New America refused to learn from them.

What lessons did Armando learn? He thought of Janelle. When he gazed at her sitting across the row from him, he wondered what her hidden face revealed. All that was visible were ringlets of blue-black hair drooping from her tight mask. Could she sense his sideward glances? Hear the pounding of his love-sick heart? No way of telling if she did. Her note-taking fingertips tapped away at the keyboard on her wrist.

Yaroz waved his bony arms and wildly ranted over the misdeeds of a presidential line that stretched from George W. Bush to Findlay Taft and all the traitors in between, particularly Taft whose downright audacity to scrap the Constitution, declare it null and void, led to his execution on the White House lawn. Crowds of attendees rivaled that of his inauguration when Americans in their red-white-and-blue respirators stood shivering in the chemically poisoned Washington winter air .

“A damn traitor!” screamed Yaroz. “This the man who tried to claim divine right to office because another Taft once ruled –– a fat man whose abominable girth could not manage to fit itself in a tub, let alone afford him the right to rule a nation!”

Armando blinked away the old professor, morphing him into the love of his eighteen-year life. Janelle. He loved the song of her name, the way it fluttered like the hummingbirds  that nibbled at the nectar of Old America’s trumpet honeysuckle vines. If he believed in angels, she would be one.

Yaroz smiled, corn-yellow teeth flashing dully. “With Taft’s demise, General Brewster and the New Army will set things right.”

Armando wanted to believe the ban on physical love would be lifted. Babies would be born again the old-fashioned way. He could approach Janelle with a convincing kiss, an embrace, then let human nature run its course. This was his dream, but it was only a rumor. Governments rose and fell; they never righted wrongs. Yaroz said it best. “History teaches us lessons we never learn.”

Now Yaroz was affirming it at the board. “All current laws remain in effect.” Then he said, “End of lesson. Single-file out of here until Wednesday, promptly at nine.”





Salvatore Buttaci was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, U. S. A. Today, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, Christian Science Monitor, A Word with You Press, Pen 10, and Six Sentences.


His latest collection of short-short fiction, 200 Shorts, is available at


His first collection of 164 flash stories, Flashing My Shorts, also published by All things That Matter Press, is available at

7 thoughts on “Sal Buttaci’s maskuline entry into our contest

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    With the character, Yaroz, the backbone of this story set in a futuristic USA which has “crumbled” both in character and constitution, we find a razor edge tightness of focus and mission towards a New America. It is written that nothing is as precious within the mind as when it becomes forbidden by law or by moral restrictions. In this story of presidential execution on the White House lawn we are reminded of how we might feel if love itself were so taboo. The gas masks represent the separation between Yaroz and Janelle. The love target therefore is more of country than between a man and a woman, but the losses are co-currrently linked. This level of rebel is ultraconservative therefore in trying to reestablish love of country and the love with baby making between man and woman.

    The writing quality to me, Sal and dear reader, is as razor sharp and precise as the points being made. For me “A Kiss To Build A Dream On” will always remain Louis Armstrong “give me” romance “for my imagination”; however I must applaud the quality of bringing us this nightmare, historical fiction to us.

  2. Ken Weene says:

    The underlying theme of this great piece is that love and the freedom to pursue that love is an essential part of the American dream and perhaps of the belief in democratic values. I rather like that theme. Put us all under procreative ban, put gas masks on every face to hide us from the gazes and desire of others, and we are reduced to insects. Or will the human spirit prevail and rise above?

    • Parisianne Modert says:

      I agree with your words here Ken; although as a French/English/Swedish loyalist, the US angle isn’t very appealing to me. There is a hint of “Welcome To the Monkey House” by Vonnegut here as well as 1984 by Orwell and Brave New World by Huxley. We are treated to primarily the antagonistic side to a false utopia of panic stricken laws which strip humanity from the living. Much like the more famous written pieces, the restrictive culture has engrained restraint in love with even the grandest of rebels such as Yaroz.

  3. Michael Stang says:

    Ah, historical fiction.
    The in and out of the imagined Yaroz and the doomed Armando kept my cheeks clutching the chair. Scene before scene, your considerable story maps dissolved seamless into one another. I could have read this forever.

  4. Diane Cresswell says:

    Layered, tension begins to rise, wistfulness for something that can’t be, being at the mercy of something that has no understanding of what love isn’t. Written as only Sal can write…takes you in and draws you to a finish that is too fast. Another good one Sal!!!

  5. Glclark says:

    The title, A Kiss to Build a Dream On. I caught that, Sal. The old Louis Armstrong song that I still listen to and love. If this story were ever expanded into a novel, as I think it should be, and then made into a movie, the only fitting theme song is this….. Subtle and understated but that’s what makes you the master storyteller that you are.

  6. Eli Fang says:

    I enjoyed being taken to this other alternative-universe with its political strife being revealed in a classroom scene, where, despite all, young-love or lust is still a constant that can be counted on. How much of what’s described is Armando’s imagination versus a dark futuristic reality? The piece left this and many more intriguing questions lingering, as good fiction should.

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