THREE FLASH PIECES by Mercedes Lawry

by Mercedes Lawry


Was there transposition?

Toby wondered why flies always died on their backs, or so it seemed. He had not conducted a scientific analysis or even done research on the suspect Internet. He was fully prepared to admit he’d made up the entire premise, simply because he’d observed a dead fly upon coming out of his bedroom, though he was pretty sure he’d come across other dead flies in this position. He had no idea, really, if the fly had died on that spot or elsewhere, say, the windowsill, where so many did, no doubt yearning. A stray breeze might have wafted it to the floor. A sneeze. Another fly tired of looking at the corpse. He felt fairly certain the fly had not been there when he went to bed last night, but he would not have sworn an oath.

Could a coroner determine when the fly had died or if it had been a natural death? And what was a natural death for a fly, old age? Malnutrition? Did flies that inadvertently found their way inside have shorter lives than those who remained in the wild? Toby could certainly understand why someone might choose the fly as a compelling subject to explore. There were so many questions to be answered. He supposed, as in all fields of study, one question led to another and soon one might be inquiring about the pill bug or beetles. Should one become a generalist or a specialist and which was more rewarding, more intellectually challenging, which garnered more respect?

Toby found a crumpled tissue in his pocket, where there was almost sure to be such, gently lifted the fly which appeared to have entered the state of rigor mortis, and placed it in the waste can. If a house fly never entered a house, was it still a house fly? He was not unaware that he was a lucky man, able to spend his time contemplating this sort of issue.




She received an award. I did not receive an award. I wanted one, needed one, in fact because I was in dire financial straits, too weak to swim, no boat in sight. Perhaps I did not try hard enough for the award. Perhaps I sabotaged myself, afraid of success. This realization floated into the periphery of my circular musings without my being under the care of a therapist. I had friends who were therapists. It was as close as I wanted to get. She (award recipient) is not bad but I wouldn’t say she was worthy of an award. What do I know? Clearly not much about the ways of the world. Even so, I use adverbs sparingly. I am mostly well-intentioned other than harboring gruesome revenge fantasies involving bosses from the past. I would use the award wisely. I would be generous. This might also be true of her but I’ll bet anything I need it more. In fact, I’ll bet $5.




3. Pretty Please

There are many things and they are everywhere and more and more things are piling up, entering the picture, being purchased and moved from one room to another and then to the dump. The dump is a place for things, broken or useful, there is no discrimination. Most things are not a kind of food but seem so in the way of needing, though perhaps most things are more a kind of hunger. Wanting things, more things, better and fancier, faster and edgier, tricky things, even stupid things; for the moment they don’t seem stupid but glittering. And the children are almost buried in things and they make tunnels in things and crawl through them and push them under the bed and there is always another thing they want that is just up the road at the store and could they have it, pretty please, it will make them the happiest child ever, so that the father and mother will also be happy and the family will be inside their nest of things, complete.

Mercedes-LawryMercedes Lawry has published short fiction in several journals including  Gravel, Garbanzo, and Newer York. She’s published poetry in journals such as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize twice. Additionally, she’s published stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle. Her flash pieces “Puzzling” and “Breathing Room” appear in Cleaver‘s Issue No. 3. “The Acolytes,””Liar,” and “Box” appear in Issue 6.


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