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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 3: May 2020
Flash Fiction: 646 words
By Guy Biederman

What Darwin failed to mention is

 

at times we make our own breaks. My evolution began when a novice magician at an open mic panicked while pulling me out of the hat and fled the stage. Partially complete, I climbed out myself and finished the show. With these ears of a rabbit, this body of a man, I’ve been called Rabbit Man, Hare Freakma, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. Once someone shouted, “Hey, Mr. McGregor’s coming,” as if to scare me.

Dude, I’m fucking made of porcelain. The only thing I’m scared of is gravity. I steer clear of high shelves and stupid questions.

People love to stare at what appalls them. They can’t look away. Can’t pocket the iPhone. So they pay. Monetize your abominations. The guilt bone is the weakest link in human anatomy. Churches strike gold with it. Con artists make bank.

I met Giraffe Man once, didn’t envy him. Sparrow Woman. Calico Kid. Scandal has a shelf life. I’m all ears. For a price I’ll tell you what you want to know.

People ask if I like to hop. Chew on a carrot or leaf. Fuck, of course. One kid wanted to rub my foot for luck. As if I’m a figment with no feelings. Not once have I been asked what it’s like to be frozen in evolution, caught between species. Once, an old man with a burro nose inquired about intimacy in a soft bray. Would Darwin be surprised by his origin story? Funny you should ask. Funny I could answer. It’ll cost you 20.

For the record, Halloween’s my favorite holiday. I win Best Costume every year. Unless Giraffe Man shows up in his fedora. Or Crow Girl, who does this little trick with Jack Daniels. For my money, props call for an asterisk in the win column. You could say I’m a purist. You wouldn’t be wrong.

People wanna know if I got stuck evolving from human to rabbit or hare or rabbit or hare to human. A zebra is black with white stripes but I’m not gonna tell ’em that. I tell ’em, good question. PayPal or Venmo work for me.

No, I’ve never seen Lochness Monster. You think we’re all alike? I may have seen Big Foot once at an Evolution Anonymous Meeting, smoking in back. After the serenity prayer he vanished. So did the donuts. Damn cross addictions. I was starved. But it could’ve been Chewbacca’s son. I hear he’s grown some.

I never believed in all 12 steps, when seven or eight would do. I slow down for no one. We know how that ends. Once, I dated the poet Tigressa, there’s a lot of words. She started reading me her poems, no time limit. I started charging by the syllable.

My sponsor’s Owl Lady. She doesn’t say much. But those unblinking eyes of hers will unnerve you if you stray. Okay, I’ve got amends to make.

I do like to swim and have a healthy respect for sharks, who get a bad rap. Dolphins are the real O.G.’s of the sea. If you want someone out of the gene pool, don’t let Flipper’s smile fool you. Heard him spill his guts at a meeting. Well, someone’s guts.

That’s why they call our meetings anonymous.

Why I use a stage name, Magician. These days I have a little side hustle as a life coach, and still work a few birthdays, bar mitzvahs, and the occasional bachelorette party.

Seriously, if I were you and you were me, I wouldn’t believe a word of it. Belief has nothing to do with truth anyway. Belief’s the scandal with no shelf life. That’s some hybrid power shit. Truth requires no faith. No facts. No opinions—which, by the way, Taoists hold in tiny regard.

So, what is truth, you ask?

That’ll cost you another 20.

That’s the truth.

 

—Semi-finalist in MacQ’s Magician Ekphrastic Writing Challenge

Guy Biederman
Issue 3, May 2020

teaches “low fat fiction” and is the author of four collections of short prose: Edible Grace (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), Soundings and Fathoms: Stories (Finishing Line Press, 2018), House Samurai (Iota Press, 2006), and Parts & Labor (Thumbprint Press, 1992). His stories have appeared in dozens of venues including Carve, daCunha, Flashback Fiction, KYSO Flash, Sea Letter, Third Wednesday, and Exposition Review, where he was twice a Flash 405 winner. In 2018, his flash was nominated for the Best of the Net anthology.

Born in the Chihuahua desert near the Mexican border, Guy grew up on a stingray in Ventura, learned to write in the Peace Corps during a civil war in Guatemala, honed his craft pulling weeds and planting flowers as a gardener in San Francisco, and later received his M.A. from San Francisco State, where his teaching career began. He’s been a creative-writing midwife since 1991.

Guy lives on a houseboat with his wife and a salty cat, and walks the planks daily. It’s all true, especially the fiction.

Author’s website: https://www.guybiederman.com/

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

This Day Afloat: Reflections of Life on the Water, Biederman’s blog

 
 
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