Donald A. Ranard ~ Two Flash Fictions


Johnny Depp denies he ever threw Kate Moss down the stairs or hit her par­ents give DNA swabs to help iden­ti­fy chil­dren shot by Texas gun­man Khloe Kardashian offend­ed by rumors she had 12 face trans­plants I’ve had only one nose job she says it’s now or nev­er to avoid cli­mate cat­a­stro­phe UN warns Johnny Depp’s fin­ger sto­ry has flaws hand sur­geon says Megan Fox swapped heels for Vans at Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s wed­ding Zelensky calls for ‘total help’ as Russian forces advance in Ukraine’s East Jessica Simpson shows off her tan in steamy swim­suit pic Taliban moral­i­ty police tight­en grip on women teach­ing duo died togeth­er in their Uvalde class­room Travis Barker removes Kourtney Kardashian’s garter with his teeth dur­ing wed­ding recep­tion Russia shells towns in fierce bat­tle for the Donbas sur­geon backs Johnny Depp’s fin­ger sto­ry why are we will­ing to live with this car­nage Biden asks


A Lion in Yonkers

You can’t have a spir­it ani­mal, Grampa, she says.

He can have any god­damn thing he wants, her moth­er says.

No, he can’t. They’re just for Native Americans. It’s called appro­pri­a­tion, when you steal from someone’s culture.

Her moth­er cracks open anoth­er Coors. Yeah, well, you know what it’s called when you go off to some fan­cy-shman­cy col­lege for a year and sud­den­ly know every­thing? A pain in the—

Actually, her grand­fa­ther says, it was a Native American that gave me my spir­it animal.

His grand­daugh­ter rolls her eyes. Really? Here in Yonkers?

Why not? They used to have Native Americans here.

Ha, her moth­er says.

Yeah—used to, she says. Until we wiped them out.

Her moth­er sighs. Here we go again.

How do you know him? she asks her grandfather.

Know who?

The Native American.

The Native American, her moth­er says.

We played pick­le­ball at the senior cen­ter, her grand­fa­ther says.

Let me guess. He’s a Cherokee.

Why do you say that? her grand­fa­ther says.

All the pho­ny Native Americans are Cherokee.

What’s a spir­it ani­mal? says her lit­tle brother.

It’s an ani­mal that guides and pro­tects you, the old man says.

I want one! the boy says.

Your spir­it ani­mal is a cock­roach, his sis­ter says.

Your spir­it ani­mal is a—

Enough! says their moth­er, hold­ing up her hand. Jesus.

This would be a good time go to my room, the old man thinks. He grabs his walk­er, pulls him­self to his feet, and shuf­fles down the cor­ri­dor to his bedroom.


Why’d you have to say that? her moth­er says. You know he’s sick.

I just thought he’d want to know. He’s like me—he likes to know stuff.

Oh, so, you like to know stuff, huh?

Of course. Don’t you?

Depends. She takes a long swig of beer. Okay, here’s some­thing to know: He’s dying.

What?! What do you mean?

I mean he’s dying. He doesn’t have long to live.

But the treat­ment was working.

Yeah, but it’s not work­ing now. And he doesn’t want any more chemo.

Why didn’t you tell me?

Well, I’m telling you now. You being the per­son who likes to know stuff and all.


She taps light­ly on his door.

There’s no answer, and she knocks again, a lit­tle loud­er. Grampa?

Come in. He sounds groggy.

She opens the door and sticks her head in. He’s sit­ting up in bed, an open book on his lap.

Hi, kid­do.

Were you sleeping?

No, I was just dozing.

She just stands there, not speak­ing. He reach­es for his glass­es on the night­stand and puts them on.

Hey, are you okay? he says.

No. She begins to cry. I’m sor­ry, she says.

What’s wrong, sweet­ie? What’re you sor­ry about?

Now she’s sob­bing. Oh, Grampa.


He calls his friend, the Native American. So, Arnold, I’m curi­ous. What kind of Native American are you?

What do you mean—like what tribe?

Yeah, I mean are you a Sioux or a Mohican or what?

I’m Cherokee.


From his bed, he gazes across the room up at the biggest and bright­est moon he’s ever seen. The win­dow is open, and a warm sum­mer breeze stirs the white cur­tains. The med­ica­tion kicks in, and he drifts off. When he opens his eyes a moment later—or per­haps an hour—there he is, in the moon­light. His mag­nif­i­cent gold­en head fills the window.

You came any­way! the old man says, near­ly weep­ing with relief. He climbs out of bed and walks unas­sist­ed to the win­dow, with­out stiff­ness or pain, on new legs.


Donald A. Ranard’s writ­ing has appeared in The Atlantic, Vestal Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, 100 Word Story, The Washington Post, The Best Travel Writing, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. His play Elbow. Apple. Carpet. Saddle. Bubble. was named one of three final­ists in Veteran Repertory’s 2021 play­writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Based in Arlington, VA, he has lived in 10 coun­tries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.