Here’s the whole story: I am small. Small enough to crouch behind a recliner and be fully hidden.
And that’s where I am. Behind this threadbare brown recliner in what I want to say is our trailer-park years, the days of the single-wide with the perpetually frozen pipes.
I’m holding in my hands a new toy—a small plastic bow with a suction cup-tipped arrow. The arrow is not notched, not pointed at anyone. I am not attacking, just hiding.
This is why they’re screaming at each other. This toy. My mother had slipped me some cash as I got on the bus that morning for our field trip to Fort Robinson, told me in an urgent, hushed tone that I could buy myself something from the gift shop. My father is angry that the two of us were wasteful in this way, that we spent on something so insignificant. Plastic junk. I do not yet understand that he is possibly more angry that we were in on this together, that we created this secret behind his back.
I cannot see their faces in this memory, hidden in full as I am behind the chair. Just this wall of their raised voices. That moment is the whole story, though. That one and the one that followed when I quietly hid the bow and arrow underneath my bed—so ashamed for being allowed this.
has published his poetry and prose in such journals as The Meadow, The Colorado Review, and Whiskey Island. His writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and for Best of the Net and is included in two volumes of the Best Microfiction series. He lives in Wyoming with a couple of humans and several cats.
You can find more of his work at:
The Sound, the Message, micro-fiction in MacQ (Issue 2, March 2020)
The Difference Between Poetry and Prose, prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 3, Spring 2015)
Another Summer at the End of the World, nonfiction in KYSO Flash (Issue 2, Winter 2015); nominated for Best of the Net
The Beginning of a Simple Conversation, micro-fiction in KYSO Flash (Issue 1, Fall 2014); nominated for the debut issue of The Best Small Fictions