KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Flash Fiction: 547 words


by Carrie Close

She was meeting her new friend Allie for a drink, hoping there would be an attractive man or two, to glance at appreciatively if nothing else. Instead, at the other end of the nearly vacant bar, sat a man she knew from another life—looking an awful lot like a leprechaun with his orange beard and luminous teal t-shirt.

He came over to say hello, give her hug, ask her how she’d been. His bloodshot eyes were disconcerting.

“How old is your kid these days?” she asked.


Later, as she tried to feign interest in the words spilling from Allie’s mouth, she caught him staring at her from across the bar.

“What?” she mouthed.

He shook his head, “Nothing.”

The night wore on as she drank one beer, then another, the cloudy Bissell Substance making her head swirl and her vision hazy.

“Let me buy you a drink,” he said. All vodka and Kahlua and ice. It was undrinkable. She asked the bartender to dump it out while he was in the restroom.

“You’re hanging out with me later,” he said.

“Only if you’ll play for me,” she replied, ordering another Substance before following the leprechaun outside for a smoke. She laughed when she saw the pack of American Spirits, remembering other nights like this one.

“I’ve always loved you,” he said. “I did then and I still do now.”


Around the corner she kissed Allie goodbye—a sloppy wet kiss on the lips that left her holding the brick wall for balance, closing her eyes while she waited for the world to right itself again. She was grateful for the chill in the air that graciously cooled her burning face.

Letting the leprechaun lead the way, she followed him down the darkened sidewalks. She took his hand and slipped the ring off his finger, not wanting to look at it. He led her through the unlocked doors of Merrill Hall, up the stairs to a room with rigid reception-area sofas and a piano.

While he played she thought of how enthralled she had been with him at sixteen, recalling the memory of curling up next to him in a sleeping bag on the porch of that camp in Industry, looking up at the stars in wonder. She marveled how five years could change everything, could make someone who was once everything to you, nothing, less than nothing. As she watched his torso hunch over the keys, his fingers working some unknown, wasted magic, he felt to her like a ghost, liable to vanish without warning. Part of her wished he would. Another part moved forward, pressing her body against his back and kissing the length of his neck, wanting to make him real.

He wanted to take her there, in the room, but she insisted they go back to her place instead. So the leprechaun drove her through deserted streets, and the night blurred by with the fast-moving light of lamp posts through the car’s windows.


In the morning she found his socks on the floor, the only evidence, aside from his lingering smell, that he’d been there at all. She wasn’t sure what to do with them—wash them, burn them, throw them away, or leave them untouched in the corner.


Carrie Close
Issue 9, Spring 2018

was born and raised in central Maine where she is currently attending the University of Maine at Farmington for Creative Writing. When she’s not in class or staring in agony at a blank Google document, she’s most likely fantasizing about the puppy she wishes she owned.

Publisher’s Note: We’re honored and delighted to be the first to publish work by Carrie Close, and we look forward to presenting more of her stories in future issues.

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