Sunday, May 1, 2011

Filled Under:

Amusement Park Romance

Some flash fiction

Jacob had never flushed his own poo, fearful that the toilet might clog and overflow with a rush of sour, shit water, leaving the cuffs of his trousers soaked. So he only pooped at home, where his mother could help bear this burden. They had a system. Jacob pooped, closed the lid, and walked away. Later, his mother found the floating black mass and flushed without complaint. His mother did other things — made him toast and got him glasses of water so Jacob could continue clacking at his keyboard defending some far off galaxy. After his twenty-first birthday Jacob’s father intervened, pushing him out the door and into a job assembling laptops at his uncle’s factory.

He never longed for companionship until he overheard his coworkers. They talked about dating and mutual friends, and wondered who kept leaving floaters in the toilet. He didn’t have an anecdote to add to the conversation, but he longed for one.

During a work trip to an amusement park, Jacob was struck above the left eyebrow by a loose bolt while riding the Pooh and Piglet Coaster. The child beside him didn’t notice Jacob’s limb and bleeding skull until it bumped her shoulder during the last 90-degree turn, a rich purple sludge drizzling from the wound. The plate doctors later installed blurred Jacob’s vision near microwaves and radio towers, and at times he wondered if the magnetic pull of the moon was throwing off his equilibrium.

He returned to work, his forehead carrying a soft pink scar that bubbled like the beads of an arc weld. People were suddenly interested. They asked for details, and wondered how something like this could happen: in America.

After a few months, the roller coaster story grew stagnant, and conversations shifted back to friends and dating. So Jacob started talking about the blurred vision and the pull of the moon, and when someone asked about the black masses left in the toilet he confessed to that too, claiming that his skull fracture caused lapses in memory. Everything funneled back his plate, which then reminded people of the loose bolt and Jacob’s one and only interesting anecdote. But even that eventually faded, and coworkers began to view Jacob as a complainer.

One morning, as Jacob sat silently installing a delete key, a new employee approached him. Her name was Jessica. She was short with dirty blond curls, and dirty freckled skin, and she was missing a hand and forearm. She asked about the pink bulge near Jacob’s hairline, and he gladly told her about the loose bolt, and the plate, and his hours of sloppy balance that were on schedule with the tide. Jacob then asked Jessica about the stump below her bicep and she told a tragic story about extending her arm outside the cage of a tilt a whirl.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chuckle!

Gil and Marin said...

This is genius.