Essays    Reportage    Marginalia    Interviews    Poetry    Fiction    Videos    Everything   

I wish they didn’t have to come.

Fiction | Flash Fiction
February 17, 2023

Falling leaves pattern the streets in yellow. It is a wonderful day to go out.

1. Lisa, Tim, and I get dressed. 2. I am the last to be ready. 3. They are always impatient when it comes to me. 4. I wish I knew why. 5. I’m just doing my best. 6. The town is warm and bright. 7. Full of life. 8. We walk together, Tim leading and Lisa behind me to keep me moving. 9. The clouds puff by on a canvas of blue, free. 10. It is so that I am always within their sight. 11. People are shouting their buy-two-get-one-free deals and whatnot. 12. I wish they didn’t have to come. 13. Lisa has always watched me. 14. Cabbages, apples, squash, lemons, cherries, potatoes, bread and 15. Fish, pork, beef, lamb, scallops, seaweed, crab, oyster and 16. Tim has always nagged me. 17. Dried dates, dried plums, dried fish, dried mushroom, dried fungus, dried lotus seeds and 18. There are many birdcages. 19. Live birds. 20. Live turtles, live fish, live snakes, live chickens. 21. Each birdcage has one inside. 22. I count up my money. 23. The sky is changing quickly. 24. I add the prices. 25. Lisa ushers me along. 26. She has seen the new shoes she has been wanting. 27. Tim waits outside. 28. I don’t like the shoes. 29. Lisa takes a long time. 30. Tim is not outside, and so 31. I run back to the birdcages. 32. A tall man in white has bought them all. 33. I ask him if I could buy one from him. 34. He says no, and I ask again. 35. Why, because you think I can’t take care of it? 36. No, because you’ll set them free. 37. Lisa shows up and drags me home. 38. She’s strong. 39. I know what will come next when we get home. 40. Tim is threatening. 41. I think of the man. 42. And keep running.