Jesse Jarnow

dead bird, no. 9

(Being an attempt to write short fiction in even shorter increments…)

dead bird, no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11

The doorbell woke me. I’d fallen asleep on the couch, listening to the old R & B station and half-reading about the Mbuti pygmies in National Geographic. Then there was knocking. I found a police officer in the hallway. He had puffy, pocked cheeks and hard eyes. Monica stood next to him. She’d been crying. She was holding a box of brownie mix.

“We thought she was soliciting,” he said. Monica squeezed silently past me into the apartment.

I was taken aback. “Carrying a box of brownie mix?”

The officer looked embarrassed. “That’s what she said. She was quite drunk, though, and very lewd. She kicked me.” I glanced at the clock on the mantle, next to our mother’s ashes. Monica had been gone for over two hours. “We were forced to ticket her,” he explained.

After the officer left, I took my contacts out. I had to work in the morning. Monica sat at the kitchen table, reading the brownie box. I thought again about what the dead bird had told me, and felt tiredness course through my body like ink dispersing in water.


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