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Flush Fiction: “For Wile E. Coyote, Apetitius giganticus”

September 14, 2012

Here’s a snicker-starter of a story from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader presents FLUSH FICTION: 88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting:

For Wile E. Coyote, Apetitius giganticus

by Jason Schossler

“A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.”
—George Santayana

1

Monday he comes home squashed flat by a locomotive, Tuesday, his hair burnt to a crisp. Friday, a week—no bird, no prey, and nothing in the medicine cabinet to treat the anvil lodged in his head.

2

Picking up his daughter from her interview at Perdue Farms, he overhears her talking to her BFF. “We’ve had KFC for supper every night this week,” she says. “My dad is such a loser.” When she says the word, she presses her fingers to her forehead in the shape of an L.

3

The spring catalogue arrives with the chirp of awakening birds. Earthquake pills, TNT, a catapult, quick-drying cement, dehydrated boulders, a boomerang, and free with every $100 order, a rocket sled and thirty miles of railroad tracks.*

* some assembly required

4

The nights are long. His hind legs stiffen up in his sleep, and his right hip hasn’t felt the same ever since those jet-propelled tennis shoes blasted him through the center of the earth to China.

5

On the family room sofa his wife eases the thread through the needle and stitches his tail back into place. Now and then she stops to look up at the shimmering sage in the backyard. “It’s not just the kids,” she says with a throb in her voice. “The neighbors are talking, too.”

6

It’s the customer service as much as the good line of credit that keeps him coming back to Acme Corp.

Coughing red soot from another day’s avalanche, he asks Sue, the refund department operator, about her father’s knee surgery, swimming in Lake Wallenpaupack, her butterfly garden of bee balm and lilac, and on the other end of the phone, Sue is curious about life in the Southwest, and if it really is what they call a dry heat.

7

During his lunch break in the shade of the cottonwoods he listens to The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence by Dr. Robert Anthony on his iPod.

Closing his eyes, he visualizes the world he wants to live in: the bird browning in the oven, legs tied together, skin brushed in melted butter like an oasis on the other side of a great, uncrossable desert, and by late afternoon, the kids probing the tender curves with gentle forks, a mysterious passion on their faces.

8

…Next up on Coast to Coast AM we’ve got a caller from the Southwest, a Mr. W.C., who—now get this—claims to know a magical roadrunner that can pass through walls….

9

The Southern Belle disguise has arrived. Inside the package is a handwritten note from Sue. This should do the trick.

In front of the mirror he tries on the saucy red dress. Puckers his lips and turns to admire the ruffled bodice. The costume comes with a velvet bonnet and matching handbag large enough to conceal a stick of dynamite.

Standing behind him, his wife starts to cry. “Who are you?” she says. “I don’t know you anymore.”

He wiggles his eyebrows. The bird is good as cooked.

*****

Jason Schossler

• FLUSH FICTION

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