Two short fictions.
By MEG POKRASS.
1. Because They Are Men
SEVEN HUNGRY-LOOKING dwarves knock on your door so you invite them in for cookies. The first thing you notice is how each of them has a sad story to tell. All of their stories have to do with their mothers, who have died. All of them miss their homes grievously, and weep while telling you about it. They try not to look at each other crying because they are men. All seven of them regret how they hadn’t told their mothers how much they loved them, so they tell it to you instead.
HAVING NO CHILDREN, she wanted a pet snail. Her husband owned a Beta fish he didn’t have much in common with. He liked it very much.
When he died, she decided to stop procrastinating, to research hand-raised snails, the most loyal and trainable. He was no longer there on the couch, complaining about the weather.
When she searched for “snail”, she wore his fisherman’s cap. The one he died in.
When he was still living, only twice had she refused him in bed. The last time, he brushed her knee with his lips and she said, “Nope. I have a prolonged ache.” Which was true.
He told her, “You’re a kettle of lovely.”
She shook her head and said, “I want my very own pet, just a snail, just that.”
He died in the living room, holding his Beta.
It was rude, dying that way, taking the fish along with him.
Meg Pokrass is the author of seven flash-fiction collections, two flash novellas, and is a two-time recipient of San Francisco’s Blue Light Book Award. Her work has appeared in hundreds of literary journals including Electric Literature, Tin House, and Washington Square Review. She currently serves as Festival Curator for Flash Fiction Festival UK, Flash Challenge Columnist for Mslexia Magazine, and Series Co-Editor of Best Microfiction. Meg lives in England near the Scottish border.