“In recovery and rehab, I met a man who called himself the Human Torch. He’d been welding together the bulkheads of a ship when his oxy-acetylene torch exploded in his face. An incompetent coworker had replaced part of the acetylene line he was using with copper tubing, and the company’s safety inspector hadn’t noticed. Copper reacts with acetylene, he told me. The product is an explosive salt. That was the simple chemistry of his particular disaster.
We watched a lot of TV together. Every morning at 11 AM there were reruns of Northern Exposure. I loved that show. I especially loved the intro, the part with the moose. It was just a calf, ugly and ungainly, but cute somehow, you know? It was the spirit of that place. It wandered the empty streets before anyone woke up.
“That moose,” said the Torch. “He goes anywhere he wants. If he were a pretty little deer, doing that? There’d be trouble.”
I placed 5th overall out of an original field of 2100 writers.
“Her lunch basket swung in her hand as she walked. She was proud of the basket; she’d made it herself. It was a thing she’d brought into the world, all by herself. Well, Mrs. Carter had shown her how to make the God’s eye, the diamond weave where the handle meets the bowl. She stopped to look at it again, and noticed that the glow on her fingertip had faded completely.
God’s eye, she thought, that’s what they showed me how to do, up there. Only now I can see how people’s faces here wrinkle, I can see the hollow gray in their eyes. I can hear their flat words and tik-tok thoughts. I can see the blistered paint. I can see how the sky scrapes the earth now. I can see how the day darkens after the sun comes up.”
“I learned that kibo means belly, so a kibokibo is a joke. Velona is to live, to be alive. Mamy fo velona (‘sweet heart living’) means to be centered only on one’s self; to care only for one’s own life. Ahy means me. It also means mine. As a verb, it means ‘to be a cause for worry’.”
“Just do it,” I told him, “and do it quick.” And he picked up the milk jug full of gasoline and dumped it over my head.
Appeared in Quantum Fairy Tale‘s Halloween issue #13.
The Molotov Cocktail Prize Anthology
This collection contains 40 flash fiction stories selected by Josh Goller and Mary Lenoir Bond, ranging from amusing to horror and surreal to disturbing. One of them is mine, and it’s a little of all four.Now available on Amazon.
Deedee Loves Peanut Butter
She turned into dust after Daddy’s car squashed her. Like, when you put a stake in a vampire? Pssshhhh! Like that.Accepted 8/12; appeared in The Fable‘s special Halloween issue #9 (10/31/15).