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Three Flash Fictions by Aimee Parkison

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I File His Fangs

I’m afraid of my son. I’ve known a terror beyond terror because of my beautiful boy. He’s beloved by other children, his teachers, and my husband, his father. I never tell anyone what’s really going on, especially his father. Not only would he not want to hear it, he wouldn’t believe it and might consider it a betrayal. Besides, even if I could convince him, what could he do?  My son is five years old, small for his age, angelic looking with curly blond hair and blue eyes. His hair smells like evergreens, and his breath is like cinnamon candy. He smiles with his lips closed to hide his teeth. His teeth keep growing in and falling out. They get bigger and bigger, sharper and longer like fangs, then they fall out, again. I’m afraid my son will bite me. He has bitten me before. It’s like being bitten by a rodent. The long teeth break off in my skin. No one believes me, and he smiles when I ask him why. My husband has no idea our son’s fangs are just starting again, the tiny tips poking out of his gums. They hurt. He cries, teething. “Don’t tell daddy,” he says. “Please.” I never tell our secret. It makes us closer, and the closer we become the more I file his fangs.

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Just in Case Her Children Quit Playing Video Games

As her children played video games, a woman on a diet sat in her kitchen, thinking up surprising reasons she wasn’t losing weight, then she decided to eat her dog. The dog had no idea it was low carb and ketogenic. Or did it? It gazed at her. She wondered if it sensed her thoughts.

“Chippie,” she called. “Here, Chippie. That’s a good boy. Here, Chippie, here.”

Thrilled about how many calories she was burning, she chased Chippie through the kitchen. Chippie’s claws scratched the old linoleum, and he began wagging his tail, as if it were a game.

The woman’s tummy rumbled. Even as she thought about what she was planning, she realized she couldn’t go through with it. Or could she? No, she couldn’t. But why?

Chippie loved her. A lot. No matter what happened, she always had Chippie. Chippie pie. Chippie baby. Sweet Chip. She thought of what it was like, every day with Chippie by her side, while her children ignored her as they played video games.

In her mind, a montage played. She was sweeping the linoleum, and Chip was bouncing. She was coughing as Chip coughed. She woke at night, after dreaming, and Chip was sleeping on her shoulder. She farted. Chippie farted. She ate. Chippie ate. In the final image, she was eating Chippie, and Chippie was both there and not there, and yet they were closer than ever, and she was happy, so happy.

As usual, the children played video games with headphones on, no clue she wasn’t allowed to have anything fried and yet fried food was all she wanted to eat. Maybe oven fried, she wondered. That wasn’t really real frying, was it? Or maybe she could bake Chippie. Baked dog? Roast dog. Charcoaled dog, but if the neighbors saw her cooking Chippie on the barbeque, they might get the wrong impression. Impressions be damned! She wasn’t a cruel woman. Besides, she could tell the children she was only eating a hot dog.

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When Your Rebound Backfires Like a Rubber Band Stretched Too Tight

You’re sweating beer when you realize what’s about to happen is as private as your power bill and as romantic as scarfing fast food on rotting picnic tables near public restrooms. At the park where your ex meets you, he confesses he and the new girl, an underwear model, are finally having sex and are doing it doggie style. You remain calm, detached, asking, “And what’s that like, David?”

You don’t want to know. You do want to know, but you really wish he didn’t say, “It’s like buying a bag of 99-cent tacos and realizing you paid too much.”

The new girl is a joke, like you, a deliberate punch line delivered to exes, friends, strangers, drinking buddies, brothers, new loves.

Smiling, he shakes his cigarettes out of his jacket pocket, lights up like a charm, eyes glinting as he inhales, exhales. The smoke drifts, stinging your eyes. Is he blowing his breath in your face on purpose? It’s a question you’ve asked yourself before but never dared to answer because there’s no answer that portrays you in empathetic light. You smile.

After smoking his last cigarette, he says he needs to buy more cigarettes and asks if he can borrow ten dollars. You hand him a ten-dollar bill, and he asks for another. It makes you want him more. You hate the underwear model and imagine him doing her, doggie style.

His teeth are like condemned buildings in his beautiful mouth.

He kisses you.

“I’m trying to take care of you,” he whispers while still tugging at the dollar bill clutched tightly in your quivering palm.

His kisses last long enough for you to realize foreplay can be returned like the six-piece screwdriver set he bought you for your birthday. It can be reversed and backfire like a rubber band stretched too tight.            

When you’re on the rebound, you make it worse by hating yourself and the new girl as if you are the same person. You’re basically interchangeable. That’s why he likes doggie style. He doesn’t have to see your face.

About the author

Aimee Parkison is the author Girl Zoo (with Carol Guess), Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, Woman with Dark Horses, The Innocent Party, and The Petals of Your Eyes. Parkison has won an FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize and a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship. She teaches at Oklahoma State University.

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