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(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)
Four flash fictions from the Bootcamp writers' third annual Children in Need fundraising marathon.
What had appeared to be some sort of dangerously stylish cigarette-holder in her hand is, in actuality, a brutally curved sword. It smashes down upon the camera. The screen goes black.
I wish we didn't have to eat with them, but when I tell my mother, she just says, This is our home, now. Some home. Me and my mother and 300 retardos living together at the Freemont Residence for Retarded Adults.
Somehow Chinelo had fallen into the belief that Hausa meat sellers never cheated. Their religion forbade them from doing that. They often took the precepts of Islam more strictly than the Igbo did the Christian ones. They didn't haggle; their "yes" was their "yes," and their "no" was their "no." So, she walked up to the first man she saw in the Muslim section. "I need a kilo of meat," she said.
Okay, I need more rest, but at least I'm not off my rocker like a certain someone in the immediate vicinity.
A. Ray Norsworthy
Yes, I worry. Do you know what our five-year survival rate is? 60 percent. At 9 AM today I froze with fear of death. At noon I was dismissive. Later on—indifferent. Right now I am defiant.
Julia M. Sidorova
"Honey, your pimples are all in different stages of life, and the drug needs to accumulate if it's going to do anything." Hold back. Don't throw knives. Pat his head. Good dog. Good son. "All I mean to say is that when you take a few days off, you undo all the pills that you have taken." Kiss his head. Rough hair, hair that no girls want to play with or feel in their young, slutty hands.
Dad treats them like daughters. Says if it weren't for the girls, we'd be broke and lost. I swear he loves them like human beings. When I was a kid, we'd name them, but now it's just number earrings, a box of room-temperature syringes, and Probovac, the growth hormone that's ruining my life.
My Uncle Charlie's barely used the air conditioning the whole ride upstate, and the seatbelt's been resting right between my tits—as everyone at school loves to call them—so when I take it off there's a dark sweat stain on my t-shirt, running right down my goddamn cleavage.
And so he sits here now, imagining the blood-curdling cries the blacks let loose as the reds hover over them, then pounce. Loving the dissonance of the yellow shirt he found on the laundromat's floor and threw in at the last minute. Thinking how it lends the whole picture a frenetic rush-hour madness.
Following systematic review, it is our finding that the 759th MP Brigade experienced challenges adapting its task organizational structure, training, and equipment resources from a unit designed to conduct standard IMTO operations in the COMMZ (Bangladesh).
Rob McClure Smith
"I am Firebottom," Lucy growled. "I search the earth, looking for weak wills and strong bodies. I consume them."
After I finished explaining my predicament, this bone loss, one of the old Finns at the steam bath wanted to know what I'd been drinking all those years. He must have weighed in at three-hundred pounds, a weight he carried with some majesty since he was well over six feet tall. I couldn't help but think he must have exceptionally honest bones.