My flash fiction piece, The Island of Disappointment, has been accepted into the next (and last!) issue of Diverse Voices Quarterly. You can find the issue here. The story follows a young boy as he struggles with his sexuality and crumbling relationship with his father. He views his living room couch as his “island of disappointment”- the site of all his worst memories and experiences.
This is a grim one. Below is a short excerpt.
He called me names behind my back and mom cried in retaliation. I heard the words; I felt them cut. Faggot. Fairy. Pussy. Some of the names sent shocks through the walls and electrocuted me so I’d jump out before I got burned and went off to the couch. Island of Disappointment. Command central. Welcome back, kid. I’d lay down and try to sleep. Their voices weren’t so close anymore. We had a heavy quilt that hung over the back of the couch and I pulled it down and wrapped myself inside tightly. I put it over my head. That was good. Almost silent. Doug the Dog would jump up and sleep on top of my legs. I’d wake when the sun came up and streamed through the window. My tears were dried to my cheeks. My nose stuffy. Doug the Dog was still there with his raspy breathing.
Other times, dad would take the couch. The fight got too bad. He hit mom’s head a little too hard. She got headaches a lot and wore an ice pack for the swelling and clogged her pores with make-up to hide the dark circle under her eye. Dad called her a raccoon.
Dad was too big for the couch. He slept with his eyes shut in this hard, pained way. The wrinkles on his forehead were always present, always distorting his face and twisting it up. A sleeping animal. His feet and hands hung over the edges of our island and plopped onto the carpet. In the water. I wanted a shark to bite his fingers. Doug the Dog never crawled up on dad’s legs. Dad’s island wasn’t big enough. Besides, he’d probably hunt Doug the Dog on the island. Kill him. Skin him. Cook him over the fire. He’d chant as Doug the Dog’s flesh burned. He’d drink out of a cut open coconut or pineapple. Then he’d rip off a leg or tail or tongue and eat it. He wouldn’t worry about sharing because nobody came near him on his island.