KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Micro-Fiction: 335 words


by Cody T Luff

We crowded around the cup and one of us called for wine. The cup filled itself, dark and bloody wine rising to the golden rim. We drank greedily, our turns with the cup broken by sharp elbows and hands pulling at the stem. Someone called for beer and the cup frothed, spilling foam over bare thighs and across dirty feet. When the cup came to me, I was silent. Choose, someone said, breath harsh with wine. The heavy cup was sticky with drink, the golden stem warm from so many desperate hands. Choose, another said and pushed me. Choose, they said together, voices deepening, violence beneath.

Mother, I said into the cup, mother.

The cup quivered in my hand, a golden shiver, and remained empty.


When I woke, the chill of the apartment pulled my yawn into a grimace, my teeth chittering. It was an old dream; the cup was always empty. Sirens outside, the groan of a fire engine and a chorus of dogs singing their worship to the sound.

I listened, gathering myself. When the dogs quieted and the flash of the siren had long since fled my window, I made coffee in the dark kitchen. Two cups from the cupboard, the frying pan for eggs, cream from the fridge, and the green glass bowl of sugar. A light burst to life in the hall, sleepy sounds following a sigh and the shush of my wife’s feet stepping from the carpet to the tile of the bathroom. The world woke with her, car belching to life, the shaggy little chickadees clinging to the naked tree beyond our window trilling their winter song.

I filled one cup just so, room for cream and a dusting of sugar. The second I held in my hand, a chipped thing, dark with coffee ghosts against the porcelain. I raised it to my lips and whispered to the absence inside.

The shower started deep in the apartment and the chickadees chided each other.

The cup remained empty.

Cody T Luff’s
Issue 2, Winter 2015

stories have been published in Cirque, Menda City Review, Swamp Biscuits and Tea, Paper Tape, and Pitkin Review among others, and he edited the fiction anthology, Soul’s Road. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington, and teaches at community colleges in Portland, Oregon.

Cody grew up listening to stories in his grandfather’s barber shop as he shined shoes, stories told to him at bedsides and on front porches, deep in his father’s favorite woods, and in the cabs of pickup trucks on lonely dirt roads. But perhaps most importantly, he grew up in rural Montana and is named after a horse, although his parents deny this.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Other Bars, 1727-word short story in Cirque (Volume 6, No. 1, Winter 2014)

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