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Greg Gerke

I Want to Write Flash Fiction

Fourteen people came to our dinner party. We served macaroni so no one would be offended.

As I swept our green-walled bathroom before boiling macaroni water—Michael St. John, who always likes to arrive early, took me aside. “I want you to know I cut my fingernails for your party. And, concerning my future—yes, everybody told me the recycled envelope deal was never going to work out and they were right. But I don’t care greatly, my therapist finally believes I’m not gay. Still, the other thing is that Ukrainian woman is never going to move here. Plus, she has a prosthetic leg and I like to hike. Mountain air blesses my lungs.

“I don’t know Sammy. I feel I’ve been on such a high for so long and now it’s my turn to come down. I need meaning. I need to touch hearts and minds. What I’m saying is—I want to write flash fiction.”

We bought our house from a police officer. I didn’t want to but Alexis convinced me. Alexis comes from a long line of women and oil. She has money invested in orange groves and she’s only twenty-eight. Alexis always makes the first move.

In hour two of our dinner party, Brent’s brother Collin kept launching baby carrots in the air to catch with his mouth. One jammed and he made a sound like a really pissed rhinoceros. After being rescued, Yuna started hugging on him and we were so surprised. Yuna’d been divorced and works for an on-line contact lens company. Alexis and Sunny went to our bedroom to smoke pot. We have a jade statue of Shiva on the china cabinet. I was to watch Collin.

After dinner, Roxanne helped me with dishes. She has a book about salmon coming out with University of Texas Press and she likes to date men who are two-hundred and fifty pounds or more of muscle. “Why do you invite Michael St. John to these things?” she said fiendishly.

When Roxanne smoked, washed plates and talked at the same time her jugular stuck out. I was pretty sure it’s how she’d look if she was dealing cards. “And one more thing about him,” she said. “His deviled eggs suck ass.”

Why do Quinn and Marcus always have sex at our dinner parties? There comes a time when Quinn and Marcus just disappear. I think it’s often when Sid insists upon recalling his third grade Brooke Shields crush. On the way upstairs Marcus must take the sheet they use out of his coat and they skip into our computer room, turn up the shuffling orchestral works of Rachmaninoff and go at it.

In moments like this, I mean when I’m standing on the kitchen floor imagining our friends in our computer room, I want to call my sister and tell her everything that is wrong with my life. And do you know what she’ll say to me? She’ll say, Well it’s been an interesting July all around.

And I’ll say, Join me in remembering that time we laughed with dad and the post man.

And then she’ll not say anything. Because she’s getting another call and wants to see who it is. She’s a year older and men come from distant lands to admire her nose.

Greg Gerke lives in Brooklyn . His work has or will appear in Gargoyle, Rosebud, Fourteen Hills, Night Train and others. There’s Something Wrong With Sven, a book of short fiction has been published by Blaze Vox Books. His website is

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