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by J. Bradley

The Modern Leper

Today mom fills the glass house she’s living in, her color pea green. Mitch doesn’t know what set her off. The crooked red circle around today’s date on the calendar explains why.

Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms

Our present to mom when she turned 40 was to stay in our room that night, out of sight. Mitch and me pretended getting high on Pixy Stix and died over and over again on TV until we passed out. The next morning, I tried my first beer from one of the cans mom and dad left behind on the kitchen table. It took several years for me to work up the want to try again because I thought beer would always taste like spent cigarettes.

Backwards Walk

We know what mom really wants for her birthday: her actual body, with all the gray hair and stretch marks and wrinkles and farting and flossing and snoring and teeth picking and fingernail chewing and snorting laughter and stubbed toe from wandering furniture.

Maybe she’ll live forever, Mitch says.

Maybe, I say, the glass house keeping our ever expanding mom in check from eating everything around her alive. Maybe.

J. Bradley is a two-time winner of Wigleaf’s Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions. He’s the author of Neil & Other Stories (Whiskey Tit Books, 2018). He lives at jbradleywrites.com.