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Flash Fiction

Bean Counting

I walked down the street unnoticing the looks they were giving my father. He had one blue eye and one black. The black one reminded me of the ocean. He held my hand while we walked through the marketplace. We were looking for beans, ones that had been sent down on a sacred river at dawn so we could all eat. A man had sat on the sack holding our beans hours earlier, floating on the boat like it was the top of an elephant and the sun was just warming everything. The city was older than time. We walked through the dusty road and I put my chin up and then said hello to the chicken and the men playing checkers with coins. We passed the snake charmer and he looked at us like we should have been in the show. I grabbed for an apple but my father shook his head no. We were bean counting, looking for soup, the scouts, people bringing sustenance home and I was proud, and ready. I looked around for greens. An old lady laughed at me from a chair, she said, “I don’t have to read your hand, I know you’re trouble.” I shooed her and said, “you don’t know a thing, know a thing about me.”

nicolle elizabeth

I Do All My Own Stunts

I karate chopped the shit out of you but you couldn’t hear me because there was an alligator chewing on your ear, she was pretty.

“HIIIYAH” I said at you and the alligator but nobody paid attention.

“Excuse me,” I said but you kept walking.

nicolle elizabeth

Buffalo Gymnopédie

I hadn’t planned on coming back. When I did, I found work in a call center. I was trying to reach doctors. I was trying to get them to rate some products they’d supposedly received. If I wasn’t needed—the work was irregular—I’d walk home, or where I was staying. I was staying with a friend. His apartment was unadorned and too hot for some reason or other, so I’d open a window. I’d watch the icicles drip through the fingery warp of the heat. One day my boss sent me home again after some doctor screamed and screamed at me for reasons my boss was willing to see as completely unjustified. That doctor was crazy. “Who are you, who are you?” he’d screamed. It was snowing. Fat snowflakes were coming down fast. “Who are you?” I said out loud on the corner of Ashland and Summer Street. I kicked the U.S. mailbox there, but the coat of snow didn’t fall off.

scott garson

Flash Fiction in Artvoice

Literary Buffalo occasionally includes flash fiction alongside the poetry, features, interviews, and book reviews. Literary Buffalo seeks submissions of flash fiction, meaning complete stories running 500 words or less. Stories longer than 500 words will not be considered. Send submissions to flash fiction editor Forrest Roth at or mail them to Flash Fiction Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202. Please include SASE for return of manuscript.

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