Some Flash Fiction

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izi 出久

Feb 21, 2022
I love flash fiction. So, I finished a super dark (but kind of good at the end?) chapter about Pedra and switched to a new Word doc to write this baby. You know how some people watch a horror movie and then have to watch Family Guy or American Dad or something as a (visual) palette cleanser? Well, flash fiction is my palette cleanser.


The air was normally gray from smog, but today it is raining. Not a steady drizzle that umbrellas remedy; this is a downpour, and the drops hit the cobblestoned sidewalks so hard they up-pour back onto your jeans, soaking your legs all the way to your knees, despite your umbrella. Should have worn a poncho. Should have worn a fucking tarp.

Of course, you’re pregnant. These kinds of days always seem to happen during pregnancy. You might be pregnant with hope, pregnant with sorrow, pregnant with anger. But it’s none of those things; it’s a baby. A creature made of flesh, bones, and blood that kicks your lungs at regular occasions in case you somehow stopped noticing how your stomach extends over the waistline of your largest pair of yoga pants.

But never mind all that. Those are trifles. You are in the middle of Beijing in a freezing spring rain and you’re trying to catch a taxi.

The headlights reflect off the glistening road and the rain is like a veil, so it’s hard to tell what is a taxi and what isn’t. No matter. Your thumb jabs the air. Surely someone will stop. It’s raining for Chris-sake. Thank God; someone does stop and—oh, yes, it’s a taxi—and a young man—Chinese—steps up just as you open the door to get in. “Wo de,” he says—mine—and the cab driver looks back and forth at each of you and then points to the man and you heft your big old pregnant self out, embarrassed.

Why are you so upset? Why are you cursing? Wasn’t it just a few months ago that you hailed a cab with your friends but, once each of you was seated, the cab driver told you that he refused to drive you and you spoke to him in Mandarin and placated him until he acquiesced? The girl in the back with black skin was angry and she wanted to get out, and you reassured her and said, “No no, it’s fine—he will give us a ride.”

Now, you wish you had stepped out of that cab instead of paying him. You wish you had thrown your finger in that driver’s face and spat “Cao ni!” Is it because you’re pregnant and cold and it’s raining, or because, for once in your life, you have felt just a shadow of discrimination? Perhaps, mostly, you are ashamed of your own inaction.
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