KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Micro-Fiction: 278 words [R]

Labyrinthine Audiology

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

The staff at Labyrinthine Audiology, Inc. is a withdrawn bunch. We nap in fetal positions in our offices, and emerge blinking, staring with crusty eyes, as if we’ve never seen each other, instead of having grown up together in the Neighborhood under the influence of the Yankees, Rheingold Beer, 16 millimeter film: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. All those memories merged in our dreams and nightmares.

Old women sit uncomfortably in our waiting room, scanning their surroundings with scared polaroid eyes, not knowing if anyone is talking to them or calling them. Aural tones line up like constellations in the deep night of the Everglades as pythons, released pets, conspire about which continents to take over and whether they will speak Spanish or Portuguese.

The president of our company travels to Lisbon. I tell him to catch some Fado, the mournful blues sung by women whose husbands have gone away to sea. Amalia Rodriguez, the Queen of Fado, is dead, but Portugal is full of beautiful women singing their hearts out, wearing their dark organs on their sleeves.

My editor wants to go, but can’t convince his friends, who see these performances as touristic and don’t want to pay for overpriced drinks, and for the sultry, scornful singer in the dark room to cover them with contempt like shellac. She would shiver them with notes like a gravedigger flings dirt behind him, dirt that transforms mid-air into broken razor blades.

The streets are filled with land mines, which the singer deftly avoids as she struts over the cobbles in her four-inch heels, headed for home. She knows where they are, and she knows that you don’t.


—Grabois has combined two previously published works in this piece: The first two paragraphs were previously published as a poem entitled “Labyrinth” in Tendril Literary Magazine (Issue 1, Summer 2013), and the remaining three paragraphs were previously published as a poem, in slightly revised form and entitled “Land Mines,” in Ray’s Road Review (Summer 2015).

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
Issue 8, August 2017

lives in Denver, Colorado, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions for work published in 2011 through 2015. His poems and fictions are widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Two-Headed Dog, his novel based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, and as a print edition.

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