Amazonia (flash fiction)

frog-1530803_640Such Such sorrow I feel for man. He may never live within the realm of Amazonia, only dwell within her pleasures. For he is firmly footed to earthen concerns with roots held tight by Nature. In this truth lies the desire of man to conquer Her. Yet he is so earthbound that even in the realization that his desire can never be quenched, it only adds to his heated anger until his resentment turns to oppression. For he, reigned over by no Lord more than his own loins, is only guardian to that which can create. For creation is never his, forever Hers in all ways. This majesty he cannot touch, only wish to emulate. For if his seed were no more, She, being Nature, would turn half her species into amphibians. For that, be it my guess, the true origin of Princes. For Nature is of such a cunning trickery that She bestows all blame to Fortune.

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Herbie (flash fiction) by Jenn Whittaker

wolf-spider-1509051_1920The wolf spider, perhaps better known as the barn spider, terrorized my youth. Growing up my father insisted that these disguising tarantula-like, hairy beasts were a household contributor. They ate bugs that didn’t die despite the pest man’s best efforts. My father always kept one inside and named it Herbie. I don’t know if he actually went to the barn to collect Herbie, but I find that hard to believe since the barn had been long overgrown with weeds and ivy since the divorce. I think, more likely, that the spider just popped up one day and he felt the need to give it meaning. However, he did corral it into his room for safe-keeping.

I found out about Herbie shortly after I killed him with a broom in the living room. My father was distraught. This is when my father shared his knowledge of wolf spiders being bug filters, regardless of their tendency to jump. I quivered at the thought of one catapulting itself onto my forehead as we squared-off, it deceptively still, me with broom in hand, deceptively still. I told my father to keep Herbie in his room. The consequences of noncompliance being certain death at the blue handled broom we kept in the pantry. Mother would have never allowed this…Herbie, not the broom.

With each death, my father’s face went red as he shared his disgust…with the killing, not with Herbie. But no matter how many of the endless killings occurred, my father kept his conviction of Herbie’s necessity. There were eight Herbies before my father did give up his collection thanks to me. He gave up on the marriage, the barn, my murderous path, and finally, Herbie itself.

Long after I’d moved away I encountered yet another wolf spider. I did not name it Herbie. I did not keep it in my room. I killed it. In my victory came resolution. I let go far easier than my father.

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Wake Up Call (flash fiction)

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I can’t wake up. All of my life I’ve been a heavy sleeper.

I hadn’t found an alarm clock that was up to the challenge until my best friend gave me a chicken alarm clock. Its body comprised the clock face surrounded by white plastic, etched feathers. Above that sat the head of the chicken with a yellow beak and that red thing on top of its head. Well, that red thing was the snooze button. In order to turn off the alarm I had to flip a switch on the yellow feet. At the set time, the chicken crowed like a rooster for daybreak. I’d finally found the one. I was eleven.

At nineteen, I found Bill. He is a tortured artist.

Once, he slathered himself in multi-colored, acrylic paint and rammed himself against a wall. The remaining full-body ink blot was like a cloud to us. We’d sit and try to find unique shapes in that splat, like elephants or dolphins. I moved into his loft-style, garage apartment. I brought my chicken clock. Bill was a vegetarian. He always seemed to look at the chicken with contempt. We got into a fight; I brought home a burger; the next day he broke up with me.

After he left, so I could pack, wailing and screaming, I destroyed much of his artwork. During my fit, my chicken clucked away. I threw it against the wall and it shattered into pieces. I immediately realized what I had done.

I don’t break my stuff anymore.

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High Culture (flash fiction)

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It’s a Klimt. I think that’s how it’s spelled. It’s called “The Kiss”. In fourth grade, I was on a field trip with my class to the art museum. The curator said it is known as the most romantic painting in history. That seemed like a stretch to me, even then. But when I was twenty-four, a guy was selling art out of the trunk of his car. I figured it fell off a truck some time back. Eighty dollars. That was the charge for a framed print of the painting that I’d long forgotten, but upon sight, the memory of the curator’s comments came rushing back to me. Sixty, I said and we agreed. I’ve had it ever since, rescuing it from the trunk or being bought by a less cultured individual. It has moved with me all over the country. I’ve never lost it, which is commendable, if you only knew me.

I’ve stared at that print of a painting endless hours, studying the woman whose feet are wrapped in vines, soft and supple all over, with round spheres dancing upon her gold dress as she embraces her lover, full of geometric squares that build his black and golden coat. He turns his head down and away to kiss her creamy cheek, as his hand cups her chin and turns it upward towards his kiss, her eyes closed. They are wrapped together in a golden light on the green grass strewn with a tiny field flowers.

I’ve never understood their romance.

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