Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Tag: flash fiction

“Living the Dream” by Sarah M. Chen

The wind won’t stop banging the bougainvillea against our fence, and the tap tap tap is beating into my skull. My eyes dart around the bedroom, but all I see are hulking shapes. I know they’re our dresser and bookshelf, but at night they look meaningless.

“Sugartime” by Erik Arneson

I was running a dust cloth across the top of the glass display case housing my most prized first editions—Hammett’s The Dain Curse and Christie’s Perilat End House among them—when the bell above the door jingled and a middle-aged man stepped into my used bookshop in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood. His cashmere trench coat made me hopeful for a big sale, but the ratty Yankees cap and knockoff sunglasses he didn’t remove gave me pause . . .

“The Playdate” by Kathleen McElligott

Desperate for adult conversation, I volunteer as a room mom. I’m teamed up with Victoria, whose twins are Drew and Cameron. Victoria’s high maintenance, but she’s fine with the fact that Deshy has two mommies.

Victoria asks if the twins can come over for a playdate while she shops for the day. Deshy has been to their house—now it’s our turn. He’s not thrilled when I tell him . . .

“The stain will stay.” by Bobbi Lurie

I spill coffee on the bed. The white quilt is stained.

How can I fix this? I tiptoe up the stairs to their kitchen, soak a wad of paper towels in the sink. I go back down the stairs, rub the paper towels into the stain. I scrub and scrub. The sun is rising; the stain is not. I lay back down on the bed. Hopelessness . . .

“365 Days of No” by E.R. Catalano

In the final tally I’m not sure who said it more, my daughter or me.

That year from two to three was full of refusals—there was the bedtime no and the cleaning up no; no to taking a bath and no to getting out of the bath; no to getting dressed or undressed. It was the toddler version of Newton’s third law: every action demanded an equal and opposite uh-uh . . .