KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Micro-Fiction: 289 words

The Fat of the Land

by Bruce Holland Rogers

In reality, Pinocchio’s wish was never granted. He never became a real boy. Instead, he grew into an adult puppet who was sometimes a candidate for the left, sometimes for the right, the center, or some fringe. Occasionally, he was even elected. In office or out, though, he was a perpetual candidate, glad-handing contributors for his next campaign.

As for Geppetto, he was the one constant in Pinocchio’s career. Aides, assistants, and consultants came and went; Pinocchio’s entourage ebbed and flowed according to the political climate, the electoral season. But wherever the candidate went, there went Geppetto, never speaking a public word, hands trembling, carrying on his back the basket of wooden rods. The press speculated: Was he an advisor? The quantity of rods in Geppetto’s basket varied. Was the candidate superstitious? Were the rods instruments of divination? Opposing candidates dismissed the rods as a decoy, insinuating that the old man was makeup artist for a candidate so vain that he needed constant touch-ups. Certainly it was true that after an hour in public, Pinocchio’s speech would become hesitant, halting, as if his mind were elsewhere.

Actually, Pinocchio’s colors rarely needed touching up, and when they did, Geppetto would produce, from the bottom of his basket, paint and a brush. Dib, dab, done. Geppetto’s chief service, while cosmetic, was accomplished not with paint, but a saw. Pinocchio could, by force of will, keep his nose from growing for about an hour, after which time it would spring to a length commensurate with his prevarications.

Pinocchio paid no salary to Geppetto, but the old man was content to aid the puppet whom he regarded as a son. Besides, Geppetto made a good living selling firewood.

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