KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
CNF: 218 words

The Phone Call

by Lynn Mundell

My father calls to say that he has just heard from my son, who’s in a Mexican jail with his friend Kevin. They got caught with 10 kilos of pot! They need money wired immediately! It’s a secret!

There is no Kevin, I say, nor pot, nor jail. (Nor secret.) There is only a teenager practicing his tenor saxophone down the hall, and some very bad people trying to separate us from our money.

I tell my father—the man who taught me how to shoot a rifle and to tell a story—not to worry.

I copy down the international number. After a long time, an American answers the phone.

I scream at him, using language that would mortify my parents, shock my children. Wound myself.

My anger is an untethered dog running and running down poor, dark streets.

“Loser,” he finally says.

“Loser,” I echo.

There is a long silence answered by silence. We’re on the same coastline, the same phone line. We breathe raggedly together.

He knows my firstborn’s name, the particular name he calls his grandfather.

I know that he is an extortionist, the sound of his surprised voice when he receives his first phone call. That he lives across a border that was just too easy for me to cross.


Lynn Mundell
Issue 9, Spring 2018

is co-founder of 100 Word Story and co-editor of its anthology, Nothing Short Of: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story (Outpost19, April 2018). Her stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in dozens of literary journals, including The Sun, Booth, Portland Review, and Five Points, with more forthcoming in Thread, Permafrost, and the anthology New Micros: Exceptionally Short Stories (W. W. Norton & Company, August 2017).

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

She Was Late, micro-fiction first published in Issue 6 of KYSO Flash online (Fall 2016); reprinted in A Trembling of Finches: KYSO Flash Anthology 2017 (volume 4 of our annual print anthology)

Past Life, flash fiction in Serving House Journal (Issue 14, Spring 2016)

Ask an Editor Series: Grant Faulkner/Lynn Mundell in Fiction Southeast (9 August 2014)

Learn more about Mundell on the Staff page at 100 word story, which includes links to dozens of her works.

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