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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Flash Fiction: 805 words
By David Jaggard

You Might as Well Just Get Down
on Your Hands and Knees and Lick the Sidewalk


One degree

As you leave the supermarket, an apple falls out of your shopping bag and rolls on the pavement. You pick it up, see that it’s not badly bruised, put it back in the bag, and take it home. Two days later you realize that you have eaten all the apples without remembering to wash them.

Two degrees

On the way home from the supermarket you find a ten-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk. You pick it up, thanking your lucky stars, and when you get home you put it down on the kitchen counter. Later you are standing at the counter eating potato chips. You accidentally drop a couple of chips on the ten. You eat the chips.

Three degrees

You are coming home from the supermarket carrying a bag full of groceries. Outside your place you put the bag down on the sidewalk while you take out your keys and open the door. Once inside you set the bag on the kitchen counter and put away the food. Later you decide to have a glass of orange juice and a donut. You take a donut out of the box and leave it sitting on the counter while you pour the juice. You eat the donut.

Five degrees

People are tromping in and out of that supermarket all day long. On this particular day you don’t get a cart because all you’re buying is a box of detergent and a loaf of bread. There’s a long line at checkout. The detergent box is heavy so you set it on the floor while waiting. As the line advances you push it forward along the floor with one foot. When it’s your turn you lift the box onto the conveyor belt, which turns out to be broken so you move it forward yourself and put the bread on the belt where the detergent used to be. Later, at home, you decide to make a sandwich. You take out two slices of bread and set them on the outside of the bread wrapper while smearing on butter, peanut butter, apple butter, honey butter, margarine, etc. You eat the sandwich.

Eleven degrees

Unbeknownst to you, there is a kind of strange but sweet-natured man living near you who happens to be a former Olympic gymnast. One day he’s walking down the street when one of the children in the neighborhood who knows him yells, “Hey! Bobby! Give us thirty!” and he hurls himself down on the sidewalk and does thirty “clap” pushups really fast. This is something he enjoys doing to show off. Soon thereafter he runs into someone who has been trying to sell him an insurance policy and who insists on talking to him for several minutes. At the end of the conversation they shake hands. The insurance salesman then passes by the supermarket and remembers that he’s out of coffee. He goes in, finds his brand, and joins the express checkout line. As he’s waiting to pay he receives an urgent call on his cell phone. He decides to do his shopping later and go take care of this situation that has arisen, so he drops the coffee in a nearby empty cart and hurries out of the store. A stock boy sees the coffee, puts it back on the shelf, and puts the cart back in the lineup by the door.

You arrive half an hour later and get that cart. You select a four-pack of toilet paper and put it in the cart in the exact place where the coffee package has been. At home you remove the wrapper of the toilet paper pack, throw it in the trash, put the rolls in the bathroom, and wash your hands. Later you realize that you can’t find an important letter from your bank that arrived that day. You look everywhere, look everywhere again and, increasingly frantic, finally start going through the trash. At last you find the letter crumpled up in the trashcan just under the toilet-paper wrapper. Wondering how the effing bleep it ever got there, you unfold the letter on your desk, reread it, and then put it away carefully in a drawer. Later you decide to drink a can of soda. You are walking around the apartment with the soda can and briefly set it down on the desk where the letter has been. Condensation forms on the outside of the can. You pick it up and walk around the apartment while drinking the soda. Several drops of condensation fall from the bottom of the can onto the kitchen table. That evening you set the table for dinner, placing your fork right where the condensation fell earlier that afternoon. You eat using the fork.

David Jaggard
Issue 8, June 2021

An American-born resident of Paris, David Jaggard is a composer, humorist, and translator, only one of which pays the bills. His satire pieces have appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Big Jewel, and Yankee Pot Roast, and his humor column “C’est Ironique” was a regular feature of ParisUpdate.com for ten years. A collection from his own website Quorum of One has been published by Drake Mabry Publishing.

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