I didn’t know what to feel when the Kool-Aid Man got down on one knee and pulled out the ring box from the breast pocket of his yellow and black Hawaiian shirt.
“Your timing is off.” I cross my arms. The contractors are scheduled tomorrow to fix the him-sized hole in our wall after our last fight. He said he needed to get some air. When he came home, he apologized and then swore it was a reflex.
“Is the timing ever right for this,” he says
I scoop up a forkful of chorizo and gorgonzola from the bell pepper on my plate and shove into my mouth. The Kool-Aid Man opens the ring box and thrusts it at me.
“So, are we doing this,” he asks.
I remembered our second night together, how the light of the cigarette flickered across his concave body. I watched hot tar swim and dissipate in his cherry colored plasma after each inhale. I started rehearsing, revising the story of how we met until our audience could recreate the right moments of the story in slow motion: the first date, the awkward attempt to make out on my couch, the way he left through the door instead of the wall, how we survived the go-kart wreck of our second date, how he nursed me back to health with his hands and mouth, carried me across the threshold of his bedroom.
I revised our story: his constant chain smoking staining my house and then our house, how the walls always lost to his temper, how I kept us fed and clothed after he was laid off, how I wanted him to become an aquarium of cancer, how I brought him here and didn’t know how to let him go.
I cup the Kool-Aid Man’s face in my hands. “I can’t do this anymore. I’ll have someone stop by to get my things.” I get up from the table and walk away. I don’t turn as I hear the table crack beneath his fist.
J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming story collection, The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016). He runs the Central Florida based reading series/chapbook publisher There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.
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.