KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Micro-Fiction: 360 words

Born in the Wrong Era

by Katey Schultz

Henry’s mother chopped the lemons for him, of course. Chopping lemons was not for five-year-olds. But when it came time to crack the cubes in the ice tray, Henry insisted on soloing through it.

Laura reached into the freezer, then handed her son the ice. “So, you grip the sides like this—”

“Mother,” Henry said in all seriousness, “you have to let me do it.”

He’d been like this since those first words rolled off his tongue as a toddler (no, cat); addressing his parents as though speaking from some distant, high society.

“Please,” Laura added. “Please let me do it.”

“Mother,” Henry sighed. “You have to. Please.” Even his boyish voice managed to conjure a Charlestonian air, as though his bloodline tied him to America’s first settlers or the slave runners of its fetid past. Laura knew it didn’t, of course. She and her husband were about as melting pot as you can get, which made Henry something akin to overcooked.

Laura watched as his fingers gripped the sides of the white ice tray. He squeezed tightly, wiggled his wrists a little, and squinted his eyes like he’d watched his mother do so many times before. Nothing.

“Sweetie, if you’ll just put your hands—”


Henry tried again, squeezing harder this time, his fingers turning pink then white as the tiny muscles in his arms and hands did their five-year-old best. He screwed his wrists in tiny circles, then crack! The first wave of victory rolled across tops of the cubes. Laura turned back to the counter and set the lemons along two crystal drinking glasses. When she heard the rest of the tray give way, she turned to look at Henry, beaming.

“See?” she exclaimed. “Easy as—”

Without warning, the tray slipped from Henry’s hands, his fingers frozen mid-air as if he were a captain conjuring plans for some historic and horrific maritime defeat.

“Oh sweetie, it’s okay, it’s no problem,” Laura said, but Henry didn’t hear. His eyes were transfixed on the dozen, clear cubes as they raced across the deep blue tiles like so many ships at sea.

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