May 11, 2018

Three Flash Fictions by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois: "Race", "Deloris Believes in America" and "Krockmalnik Brothers"

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including INDIANA VOICE. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and. was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available forKindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To read more of his work, Google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.







Race

I jumped on my bike as if it were a galloping horse and I was a rider in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It even had a name, Silver, and knobby tires and springs. My neighborhood’s smooth asphalt was boring to reckless boy and the barely broke beast he rode, so I crossed the tracks to where the roads were unpaved, rutted, potholed, gravel, mud, a joy of rough textures. The black faces there watched Silver jump, buck and fly, on his back the Lone Ranger on a mission.
I was freedom itself. No black kid joined me in my quest for thrills. They were the beat-down offspring of former slaves, heads bowed. Such were my thoughts as I skidded around corners, a typical Southern kid. What a dumb-ass I was.
At the edge of that quarter, I hit a rock, went flying over handlebars, landed full-out roadway belly flop. I had the sense to keep my head up. I already had a chipped front tooth. But road rash was bad on my bare white chest and legs. I felt the road chew me up as if it were saying, See, white boy. Blood oozed out all over me. Silver’s front fork was bent. I could see him in the ditch. He accused me with bent spokes.
I crawled over to green grass, felt chlorophyll cool on my many wounds, fell asleep for over an hour. When I woke, it was dusk. My mother would be worried.
Through a patch of woods, light glinted off sheets of glass, red and orange from the sunset. It was a greenhouse, I discovered, when I made my injured way through the high weeds. There was nothing growing inside, no sign of life, nothing but emptiness and vulnerability.
I felt a mix of anger and adventure. An inchoate fantasy, born of the War of Northern Aggression, bubbled to the fore. I found some rocks and systematically shattered every window. I felt a huge satisfaction until I realized what I’d done. I couldn’t even jump on Silver and high-tail out. I lay in the woods ‘til I could sneak off in the dark, dragging him. I kept to the edge of the quarter. I knew they were afraid of ghosts.
##



Dolores Believes in America

Dolores believes in America. She believes in progress. She’s married to a farmer. She’s done her share of hard work (her calluses prove it, you can feel ‘em if you want) unlike the city folks that bought up farms for a hobby and expect everything to be just the way they want it.
Dolores stood up in commission meetings and in a loud voice told everyone what she thinks: Love it or leave it. Stop whining and get on board. Farmers are the backbone of America and every sweep of the turbine blades will put money in their pockets.
But now the five-hundred-foot turbines are all around her, on her own land, the land her parents left her. There’s a weird pressure in her ears, weird noises in the air, ricocheting through her house, lights flickering like some bratty child is switching the lamps off and on. She feels like that old painting—The Scream she thinks it’s called. She gets in her Ford and flees, but how many hours can she spend in Wal-Mart? The employees are giving her funny looks. She knows some of them. Some were friends in high school. One lady comes up to her and asks, Finding everything you need? Dolores’s shopping cart is empty. She notices the security guard following her, eyeing her. She has to return to her home. It will all be better, she tells herself, the way it was before the windmills went up.
But it’s not
She believes in America. She believes in progress. She wants to shout out her anguish, but she can’t. She signed an easement agreement that silences her, that forbids her to ever say anything. Her silence has been paid for and she must comply. She’s afraid of the power company. They have so much money. They are powerful, like God. She’s afraid of it, like she fears God. They both can destroy her, on a whim, by a snap of their fingers.

##         


Krockmalnik Brothers

1.
I’m a suicide bomber with no ideology.
2.
L.A. is the first of the worlds I left behind, the city a lint roller for the cume of regret.
3.
My grandfather was a very old man. He held no birth certificate.
4.
All I have is a ruined life, not ruined by blacks or women or Americans, generically ruined, you might say.
5.
He worked fifty years in the garment industry in NY.
6.
My uncle Eddie, his brother, was my mentor. It was because of him I decided to become a writer, though he was unsuccessful at it.
7.
I’ve been bullied oppressed persecuted by people whose faces are now just blanks.
8.
Grandpa retired and decided out of the blue that it had been a mistake to leave Russia.
9.
When he was not yet out of middle age, Eddie he used to say that he would be discovered after he was dead,
10.
No features, no smell, nothing (who the fuck were they?) I’ll tell you something—I don’t have blanks in my gun.
11.
but there came a point, when his hands were liver spotted, that he stopped believing that.
12.
When he was in the Rumanian Army, Eddie used to march from one side of the country to the other, then back again. There were no women in that world. But in Miami Beach, there are a lot of old women who sit out on the porches and take the sun. (At least there were before the Cubans and the young hipsters took over.) Eddie wooed them. He’d march from one side of Miami Beach and back again. I could hardly keep up with him. Sometimes, he’d leave me in a Jewish deli while he stopped to shtup some old widow.
13.
Grampa, you would have been killed had you stayed in Russia, I told him.
He made a dismissive gesture.
14.
Three years before he died, Eddie burned all his manuscripts and began writing his poetry in miniature letters on the skins of apples. Then he’d eat the apples.
15.
He decided to go back.
16.
Go back to Russia, at your age?
17.
He didn’t want any arguments, just help in buying an airline ticket and packing his leather valise.
That girl you loved in Stalingrad died a long time ago, I said. They don’t even call it Stalingrad anymore.
What girl?
18.
So that was that. I thought of going with him, to take care of him, but I had to work.
19.
Eddie and his brother, my grandfather, were ten years apart, but were very close.
20. I eat cold pizza for breakfast
21.
A terrorist bomb exploded.
22.
Santana was loud on the stereo and I was in the back seat and we were on the L.A. Freeway and Quaalude was in our bloodstream and my hand was down her pants. The blend of Mexican and Armenian was an exotic chocolate.
L.A. was the first world I left behind.
23.
I should have had more guts and sacrificed everything for art. The neighbors would have called 911, compelling the police to perform the imprecise algebra of dangerousness to self or others. We could have grown together in elementals, with no abstractions to distract us.
24.
The Olympic games are Satan dancing on the bones of our ancestors, said the Chechen Muslim rebel leader.
25.
My grandfather never showed any interest in sports.

~Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois


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