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by Robert Libbey

A disembodied peep sunk neck deep in crinkle paper.

The sugar dot eye of a chocolate bunny pressed against purple cellophane.

“You’ll get none of that!” Mom’s voice cut through the door, and I looked up and saw the uniforms — Dad’s, Grandpa’s — a thin veil of film wrapping each: the epaulets, golden, winking from the shoulders, the nameplates, and all the buttons, polished to brilliance.

I climbed out the window and up into the oak. “No church, no candy!” Mom had a kung fu grip on my brother Danny.

I could see her heels dig in the gravel. Soon they were little more than stick figures in the distance.

I’d never met Dad’s sister. I’d hid the card from Mom.

On the cover, three puny crosses anchored a rolling hill blooming with white flowers. A huge sun radiated out the right corner.

The buses on Sunday ran sporadically. She only lived an hour away.

I had no idea what I was going to do or say. Her name was Phyllis.

I rang the bell and looked through the window, but no one was home.

“Hey, what are you doing?” a nosy neighbor shouted.

“She’s my aunt,” I heard myself answer.

I tore a slip off the back of the envelope, wrote a note, and pushed it through the slot.

Looking in I could see my Dad in a picture on an end table. He was smiling: holding up a fish.

If I reached my arm through I could touch it.


Robert Libbey lives in East Northport, New York, surrounded by children and animals. Recent and forthcoming work in Drunk Monkeys, Hoot, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and Blue Lake Review.

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