Three Flash Pieces

Paul and Snow

The snow had stopped falling sometime before the lawn needed mowing.  Paul didn’t think to put his boots away.  He didn’t trust the change in air.  Next to the front door the laces of his boots lay caked in mud.  They were cold and just as wet as expected.

Some time ago Paul had carved his initials in the plastic handle of a pumice stone.  He kept it tucked away, taking it out only when rubbing the scenes from photographs that made him sad.  He scraped everything away except the foot-disrupted-ground.

From Paul’s window the ground looked the same and sunk.  Paul thought it was stars that had fallen.  The corner of his lip was swollen from watching.  Diamonds twinkled from a litter box in the corner.

The Surrogates

They stay with the bottoms of their feet still whole in a house draped in aprons and other oiled hoistings.  They wring the scalps from their bonnets before I stumble upon them, sewing patterns into the plumpness of their bellies.  They laugh and eat what’s left of each other’s hair; they say I should hold their feet while I can.  My beard scratches where I blow inside like a wet ear.

Defecation of the Bookstore

We closed the men’s restroom during the first day of liquidation by writing OUT OF ORDER on the cleanest sheet of paper we could find.  It was a job, with shit like splattered flowers shot from floor to ceiling.

I watched our parking lot on my smoke break.  A sign flapped from where everyone who was coming could see it.  I didn’t recognize anyone so went next door to the fast-food place to use their bathroom.

It was like a dead thing left to eat when I came back.  I didn’t have time enough to pop my hip.  The work kept my spirits up.  I scanned some books harder than others and thought there’s nothing for me to pick at.  Never was.

One of us set up a piss pot in the break room.  One of us was a country boy and asked to be let out back.  I wondered how long it had been.

We uncoiled the stores gizzard and one of our husbands stood with his arms crossed by the exit.  We were thin and discouraged the distribution of plastic bags.  I didn’t have to look people in the face.  None of us wanted to clean the bathroom.