Best of Flash Fiction, October 2011
Published: October 26, 2011
But damn if sharks couldn’t sing when given a chance.
Halfway through our second time around the river, Gary and I sobered up and corralled the other cracked-up animals. We sat outside at the Grist Mill surrounded by wet drunks. T-Rex had fossilized in the middle of the picnic table so we worked around him. I had a Caesar salad and sweet tea. Giraffe and Butterfly split a chicken fried steak the size of Chase’s head stump. And Gary had two full racks of ribs. We devoured the food. Gary’s teeth falling out on his plate as he ate. He didn’t seem worried. I should have remembered that was normal but I had a bad case of Kentucky Deluxe memory reduction. Giraffe made the teeth into a necklace using the silk from Butterfly’s cocoon and strung it around his second neck. The waiter brought our checks and I went to the water closet while he ran my card.
When I got back there were bees everywhere. Like Nic Cage in Wicker Man level bees. And one of them must have stung Gary initially. Because Chase’s head was on the ground in a puddle of watermelon juice. Or maybe just chewed and discarded medulla oblongata. Lying next to a neckless Giraffe and armless Butterfly. A half-eaten T-Rex. Half the wait staff. And perhaps two hundred drunk and sunburned tubers at a guess. All mostly dead. And I wanted to help them. And Gary wished I had tried to stop his frenzy. But as I explained to him much later — after the drive back to San Antonio had been completed and we laid on the couch in a green haze of aloe vera fumes — there was nothing I could do.
Since a stingray dies from a single sting. •
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the Flash Fiction blog at blogs.sacurrent.com and the Current’s best of flash fiction monthly print column. He created, facilitates, and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings, and writing, at lylerosdahl.com. Send your flash to firstname.lastname@example.org.