Lychees and Figs
by Marcy Dilworth
A purple fedora snatched from a visitor wobbled on Freddy Orangutan’s head as he followed Trainer Tom out the just unlocked door, determined to enjoy retirement after thirty years’ loyal zoo service.
But fruit cost money, and money didn’t grow on trees. He landed at Amazon and spent his days submerged in a gray cubicle selecting canned answers in faceless chats with strangers, amassing 5-star reviews and aching joints.
The gig kept him in lychees and figs, but was this it?
Back at the zoo, the door, locked; Freddy’s heart, lonely, open.
Fedora in hand, he waited for Trainer Tom.
by David M Wallace
We stand in line at the fair for half an hour. A harried clown in rainbow overalls, beset by toddlers. Twisting balloons into elaborate pink ponies, purple elephants, blue dinosaurs. Our turn, at last.
“A snake!” she says.
He shrugs. One quick exhale. Two unblinking eyes.
What He Liked Went Unsung
by R. P. Singletary
No pretending, he liked the sane signature across the old guitar best. Oh he could play, had learnt how, all alone in that field, only son, brothers both dead, Dad always away, hiding out in the open from them all. Too much fusseriness, he called all the women in the house (sister, mother, granny, aunt, cousin) all behind all their proud backs, but when they’d shout out toward the barren furrows to ask their cry for notes, he’d pretend then the best, to please, and he’d strum them exactly, just what they done asked for, as if all for them.
by Ken Poyner
When Quibble receives the happiness, he finds it was shipped unassembled, without instructions, and free of paint. He spreads the pieces across his living room floor and begins moving them about, gauging which pieces might fit best with which other pieces. He tires, decides to go to Thole’s for the paint he will use. He had hoped when he came back the pieces would make more sense. They do not. It appears they have moved themselves into confusing clusters and configurations, and will need to be realigned. Then he thinks: paint first, or assemble? This project could take a lifetime.