California, choice, fear, flash, flash fiction, ice cream, life, love, micro fiction, Scott Neuffer, short stories, short story, supermarket, vss
by Scott Neuffer
Capitalism would end if I couldn’t choose which ice cream to buy. I understood that.
I was standing in the freezer aisle of a California supermarket. The floor was shiny pinkish white. Nacreous. Almost like an enamel plate to hold and underscore the dark pulpy red of my blood spattered on the glass doors. I had broken one door with my fist cuz I had understood. The choice was everything. It would all be a lie without it. I was leaning toward Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia when I had a moment of profound doubt. It was like falling through your own body into the mud. Except it wasn’t mud. It was fear that permeated everything. I thought I wanted Ben and Jerry’s, but then I didn’t, and my own capacity for change, for impermanence, overwhelmed me in a violent spasm. The breaking glass sounded like a christening. And then I had the pastel gobs of ice cream in my bloody fingers cuz there were no spoons — I can’t remember which ice cream at that point — and I was singing and pirouetting on the slick soupy floor — I was barefoot by then cuz I had kicked off my flip flops — while the sugar rushed to my heart and the coldness made my head ache like a rock but somehow it was all okay when the cops showed up and told me to lie on the floor in my own blood. I hesitated and they rushed me. I told the one grabbing my arm — he looked like he had his own harem back in the suburbs — that just cuz he had legal power over me at the moment didn’t mean he had the right to break my arm. He then broke my arm. Jacked it up behind my back until it was floppy. I didn’t hear a crack. It was actually my shoulder that dislocated. There was no pain.
“What you say?” he said. “Shut up,” he said.
He was a handsome man. I imagined kissing him with my smeared mouth. I imagined my lips buzzing on his. Stroking him with my floppy arm. But I imagined it would be hard for him, what with the ice cream already melting and mingling with my blood on the supermarket floor. That’s when I knew the end times were upon us. And I knew the only way forward was love.
Scott Neuffer — author of Range of Light (forthcoming) and Scars of the New Order — is a writer, journalist, poet, and musician who lives in Nevada with his family. His work has appeared in Nevada Magazine, Foreword Reviews, Underground Voices, Construction Literary Magazine, Shelf Awareness, Entropy Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Gone Lawn, and elsewhere. He’s also the founder and editor of the literary journal Trampset. His indie rock music is available on Apple Music and Spotify. Follow him on Twitter @scottneuffer @sneuffermusic @trampset.