As always, SmokeLong Quarterly serves up a heaping plate full of appealing flash fiction; I couldn’t wait to dig in. “Ameilia Fucking Earhart” had me laughing—and easily disturbed—throughout as a young couple discovers an old skeleton wearing an aviator hat. Deciding it must be Amelia Earhart, Elias picks up the skull and has his way with it—both humorously and sexually:
“Can Amelia have a snack?” the skull squeaked. “Amelia loves sweets.
“I held up the cotton candy to Amelia’s teeth. The paper cone had been soaked through, and the cotton was dark pink and crystallized. Elias used his left hand to move Amelia’s bottom mandible, and made it look like she was chewing.
“What a treat!” he said.
I laughed. A little bit of pink sugar was stuck to Amelia’s chin.
“You can bring her home with us if you want,” I said. I didn’t want him to.
“A pet!” he said. A child, I thought.
“The New Doctor” by Abe Gaustad tells of, well, a new doctor, but one who hates blood and will only deal with non-bleeding patients. His brother had dove into an empty pool and died, bleeding down the pool drain.
The new doctor wanted to climb down the ladder into the deep end where his brother lay dying, but the ladder stopped high above the bottom. The ladder was useless without the water and the brother was useless without the blood. He could have walked down the stairs at the shallow end, but he was thinking about what to do. That day was why he was a doctor now.
Other favorites include Mary Hamilton’s “Home Smells Like Mold” (“We keep Walter in a cave because he is ugly. He wasn’t always, but over time his features all started fighting each other . . . so we hid him away to stop scaring the other children”) and Rebecca O’Brien’s “In Their Proper Place” (“Coming from inside the dust compartment was a loud thumping sound that died as the vacuum’s motor slowed to a stop. Opening the compartment, she discovered that the source of the sound was a long, yellow, banana.”). I can’t wait to see what SmokeLong dishes up next.