KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Micro-Fiction: 236 words [R]


by Jack Cooper

He was biased toward silk handkerchiefs from Goodwill because someone had already decided they were worth wearing. They’d been paid for at a premium, folded proudly into tuxes for concerts and plays, and admired, complimented, and handled by women. He liked classy, old shoes that might have gone places he’d only dreamed of—scraggly boots from Australia made of boar hide, pecan-colored clogs from Amsterdam, and, his favorite, white suede loafers from Italy that gave him a succinct feeling of being a dancer. In a survey of his accumulations, he could call very little his own—a mask from the Ivory Coast won at a lottery for orphans, a mustache cup passed on by his aunt, a Roman coin bought from a catalogue. Any courage he had he owed to innocence and his words to out-of-print books. Even his smile was borrowed from the mirror. This morning, as he stepped into the world of fast walkers going nowhere, fanatic cyclists asserting their right to exist, and dazed drivers on the never-ending route to retirement, he argued his options: work or time, time or work, Italy or Spain. He hadn’t counted on his left ventricle making the choice. He was found slumped over his car, one eye still open, as if meeting death halfway. He wore his white loafers and a handkerchief with bright shards of reds and yellows like stained glass in a Spanish cathedral.

—First-place winner in the Flash Fiction Chronicles (FFC) String-of-10 SEVEN Contest (Spring 2015), and first published in Every Day Fiction on 7 April 2015; republished here by permissions from both author and contest sponsor, FFC

Editor’s Note (includes details about String-of-10)

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Interview with Jack Cooper, the String-of-10 SEVEN Winner by Jim Harrington for Flash Fiction Chronicles (7 April 2015)

Interview with Martin Chandler, Second-Place Winner by J. Chris Lawrence for Flash Fiction Chronicles (9 April 2015); includes the story “The Handkerchief Tree”

Interview with Suzan Palumbo, Third-Place Winner by Jim Harrington for Flash Fiction Chronicles (14 April 2015); includes her story “Roots”

Daily String-of-10 Prompt at Flash Fiction Chronicles on Facebook

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