“One of the top five kisses of all time” made me cringe the most. Like you could quantify that. And then you tried to describe that time in the outdoor 1AM when we fumblingly calculated punctuated mouth-on-other-mouth. When we tried to impress each other with startling ever-persistent stomach butterflies, and ended up frightening and becoming frightened by a passing doe. Though we were acting out a cliché, the pureness of our feelings seemed to erase the embarrassment. At the time it seemed pretty sincere.
You ended up calling it ‘love,’ but only years later.
How do two people argue about whether it’s called buffalo or bison, pock marking moments where our teeth knocked each other? “There aren’t any fucking buffaloes in the US, they were bison.” Later I twisted my ankle at your retreating back. I don’t think we were arguing about quadrupeds.
Static years later the internet told us we are perfect for one another. Which is a shame that it didn’t tell us that after the kissing, and the deer, and the bison called buffalo.
In an airport in Denver we swapped war stories over wavy lines and the squinting glare of crappy phones. I ate THC-laced chocolate and waited for a plane that was 12-hours away from lift-off. You kept me company while I dumped overpriced beer on top of legalized candy, sloshing in my stomach with wings of insects beating against my ribs. You messaged encouragements when I got sick to my stomach and my eyes were all foggy. You said the cringe worthy thing about kisses that happened before a lifetime of silence. It made me smile, but I might have been drunk.
I pressed the hot phone against my cheek while it buzzed message after message from you, and the sheen on my face made “plock”ing sounds every time I pulled it away to read your thoughts.
I used to Google search our names with plus signs because I liked to see us still linked together. And I reminded myself to dislike you often to keep you alive. I placed pins in memories of grass blankets at 1M and does, and deer, and kissing. And how I used to know you. All so that on a pilled carpet in Colorado the adult me could love the stranger of adult you.
Jane-Rebecca Cannarella is an editor at HOOT Review, a cat lady, and a Nutella enthusiast. When not poorly playing the piano, she chronicles the many ways that she embarrasses herself at the website www.youlifeisnotsogreat.com. She occasionally drinks wine out of a mug that has a smug poodle on it, and she’s not great at writing in the third person.
Everyone’s heads turned as Opal Shane made her way down the auditorium’s aisle.
Today, she was dressed in high-waisted denim shorts, a red-and-black plaid shirt, stacks and stacks of long silver necklaces, and a sheer white cardigan. White chucks and black shades topped it off.
It didn’t make sense, yet it looked good.
What happens when we only see the stereotype. In "The Aliens," a flash fiction piece by Lynn Mundell, maybe aliens are among us bathed in stereotypes.
The army sergeant was disgusted by the breastfeeding mother at Target, who thought that all people in camo were scary, as were the two nearby Goths with the black makeup, who were freaked out by the staring missionaries, who were most shocked by the tattooed cashier...
"Courage is elusive. Dreams shatter and crumble. Can we win this struggle, this war? Hate storms around us, a gale of emotions that we slowly, ever so slowly, know we must control."
Grieving and life mingle in this flash fiction piece by Cari Scribner, "Things to do While Waiting For Snow."
Your son asks for an egg sandwich. You can’t remember how he likes his eggs, so you cook them over easy. The seeping yolks distress you. You cook the eggs some more. Half the English muffin gets stuck in the toaster. When you poke it with a fork, it rips to shreds. You eat one of the broken pieces, burning your lip. You utter choice words.
Dennis Milan Bensie offers a baptism of a different sort in his flash fiction piece, "Save Dave".
You tell your mom you don’t want to sit in the dunking booth.
“You have to,” she says. “You’re the biggest draw of all the fallen kids.”
Your dad instructed you to paint a sign: DUNK THE PUNK.
Dunk you, Dad.
Ever wondered what happens in Hell? Olin Wish explore's an eternity of window shopping in his flash fiction piece, "Hell is a Place Full of Window Shoppers".
The wife had been waiting with the stroller at the store entrance. She and the baby had died first. The kids followed shortly thereafter. Clean lines, harsh light, and eternity passed at a snail’s crawl in a warehouse for the damned without a dollar to spend or a house to fill with ugly furniture. Revolving, single file, through a mystical small intestine. If only they had decided to fly to Disney world instead of drive, he had thought on more than one occasion in those early days.
Lou Gaglia takes us to a baseball game in his short story "A Sure Thing". After a little girl gets hit by a stray ball, a father considers which risks in life are worth taking.
"Sometimes it doesn't matter if you're smart or careful," she said. She rested her head on my shoulder, and I thought about the old man and his deer whistle.
Because she carelessly wiped her sucker against the bush, the bees came. First, one. Nuzzling into the prickly green bramble-sticks. Attracted by the faint aspartame stickiness perfuming the taught needles’ shiny varnish. Enpapping his little furry beak in his prescribed yet always desperate search for melilotusessence.
William Lemon begins his time as our Writer of the Month for March 2016 with an unsettling flash fiction piece, part of a series across several lit sites, "This Man".
Lise Quintana builds a shocking, sweet legend around one of the most unique performers in music history: Yoko Ono.
In early 1980, just before John Lennon's death, Yoko Ono considered a breast augmentation. But this was 1980, and this was Yoko Ono. These would not be regular one-on-each-side-with-a-nipple-on-top kinds of breasts. Not for Yoko.