Friday, May 23, 2014

Flash Fiction by A.J. Huffman

Race to Consumption

The space between each fry is a salted agony of anticipation.  It begins with the passing dance, a fidgeting fumble of golden fried potato stick tossed from hand to hand in attempt to feed before temperature allows tactile tangibility.  Greasy grain-prints linger as testimony to failure at making it to mouth.  The clock ticks in digits of eons passing.  Mimicry of blow-dryer, oral cavity forms circling orgasms, exhales to hurry the steaming prize home.  Tentatively testing, teeth pared of lips clip just the tip.  Still too soon.  The rush of internal steam scalds gums and tongue.  Reverting to OCD calming methods, individual fries become building sticks, boards in a make-shift fence to hold taste buds at bay.  Mania cannot be contained for long, creeps in from the sides in the form of napkin fans.  Soon the succulent morsels and tongue-tempered and slide home in quick succession.  What was once an eternity between bites is diminished into a continuous stream of crispy cased carb delights.  Indivisible.  Indistinguishable.  The enjoyment flows, barely divisible by breath.  Then it happens, that finite moment that slams like a door.  The space between becomes the space that falls at the finish.  Box, tray and hands are empty of all residual trace elements of edibleness.  Regret builds like bile in the back of your mind as you wish you had hesitated, allowed those brief respites to evolve, unhurried, into a prolonged ration, lasting longer than the five fevered moments of unchewing engorgement that just passed.
A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her eighth solo chapbook, Drippings from a Painted Mind, won the 2013 Two Wolves Chapbook Contest.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Flash Fiction by April Salzano

Days of Our Lives
            Sometimes I say it aloud, though in a whisper, the way they do on soap operas. As if the actors could hear them anyway. As if they wouldn’t just act like the replacement actor was the regular character. But saying it helps me make it real. “Today April will be playing the part of a good mother.”
            Other days I actually feel it without having to say it. These are the days of cookies baked from scratch. They are just Nestle Tollhouse pan cookies, but you would be surprised how many people have never heard of them. Once at a BBQ hosted by my best friend for her new husband’s family, the retarded brother in law who loved milk and home movies asked on a reconnaissance mission for his chain-smoking, wax-eared mother if he could have the recipe. He simultaneously insisted the cookies were “from a mix.” I do not attribute his lack of manners to his being retarded. I didn’t give him the recipe though I am pretty sure it’s a matter of public record. It may even be printed on the bag on chocolate chips. I bake the cookies and play outside with my two sons on the swing set and only sneak off to smoke a couple cigarettes, answer only half my text messages and keep my F-bombs to an absolute minimum. I may even suggest a board game after dinner.
            Then there are days I plan to play the role and fail miserably. There are no cookies. The television serves as babysitter and my ashtray overflows. I admit to hoping my kids don’t notice the poor substitute for a mother the casting agency has sent, that neither of them will sting me with a “what’s the matter mommy?” or worse, an “are you happy, Mom?” These are the kind of days I can only wait for bedtime to come and pray everyone wakes the following morning unscathed. I tell myself these are not the days that translate into memory, though I remember my fair share of them, a locked screen door and the smell of smoke on my mother’s breath.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. Most recently, she was nominated for two Pushcart prizes and finished her first collection of poetry.  She is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism.  Her work has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.