santa is my faux grandma by Fortunato Salazar

santa is my faux grandma

begin to fry. Had drummed up enough bread to buy the nearby bakery. But it felt good to be in an action mindset. Revving. Onto something extra in the pursuit of something else. Knocking out some windows. Or even watching from a distance, someone kicking in a window. Chatting with onlookers, from behind a van, observing through the windows of the van. Crowded behind the van. One person and then another and then a whole bunch of people who all had forgotten their house keys. That would be like finding your missing half when your missing half went off and you hadn’t prepared yourself and your last sight of you before your missing half went off was your arm withdrawing itself from between the doors of the

 

just be delicate, bright, and kind — the nuclear option. No waterlogged half drop of water making a soggy effort to stick it to its own up there. Clothing her belly with deeds. Sluggishly the half drop of water romanced the many who were certain about the mountain that they’d been asked to climb. Getting the money to someone who’d been annoying. Dissatisfying the irksome who were playing head-butt with the other dissatisfied. The half drop of water took a detour unexpectedly, but it had perfected its skills long ago and what looked like a detour was only a yearning for the inevitable raw

 

be stunned, or at least swaying in shock, when at the end of the night she announced that she’d signed up for a future in guiding doctors into private rooms. What she really felt like doing was depopulating a small room full of acquaintances who were preparing signs that read “Fuck Job Hunting.” Or at the very least doing a number on her sign so that she’d be free to pursue some other leisurely quest. What she really felt like doing was discarding, then retrieving, a sorry excuse for a piece of cheese toast, then smearing the piece of cheese toast across a window, then kicking in the window, then smearing what was left of the cheese toast across what was left of the closed-cell

 

around the corner gently. The prize was solemn tranquility, but also she needed to make a living. She folded herself into a sense of responsibility, in a black running shirt that didn’t block her ears. From somewhere in the sky she would rain down sunflower-shaped flames on all the wet mud and dust. Everyone would stand apart and at their feet would be their indecisive shadows blotted out by the dust. Meanwhile the shadows she cast would go their own way. They would have the shape of sunflowers. They would gather on the dry broken inner surfaces of eyewitnesses. They would have the shape of sunflowers and they would be created by the flames that had the shape of sunflowers

 

hungry. She craved to fry herself a big egg, but first she would need to disinfect the skillet, because the skillet had taken a weekend holiday on the outskirts of the sordid housework. She needed to scour some droppings out of the skillet, then

 

a rival holed up somewhere, angered and in a downward spiral. She would make peace with the rival and they would converge on a completely different bakery from opposite directions. They would congregate in front of a window while another formerly irrelevant rival lay sprawled on the sidewalk as if she’d just crawled out of a trench where she’d been holed up. And after being holed up for so long had been injudicious. Afterward felt empty and sought out

 

behind her told her to press on forward. A slice of bread on the counter under some other things had started to turn blue, plus it was sprouting what looked like a key, the kind of key behind a wind-up toy, or maybe a feather, the kind of feather that juts out from a music box where leather would

 

it wrong, a door opened the instant she noticed the slice of bread on the counter which actually was swaggering. She thought she’d been somewhere in a zone of wanting a really huge egg and that meeting up with it was her destiny, but all of a sudden she realized: wanting the really huge egg was just like wanting to stuff her face when what she really wanted was to bare her teeth. All of a sudden she understood what she really wanted. What she wanted was to shed her clothes and fry up olives, olives the size of meteors, a meteor army of olives which she would

 

only she had known a day earlier. But now she felt energetic again after what she realized was a misguided detour. The fog was gone, or at least sucked into the tube protruding from the wind-up toy. Night had transformed itself into a mighty cage of rain but no matter. Finally she was out on a journey. She might survive and then again she might not. Was she even the same person as the person who wanted to fry up an egg? She hoped not. She wanted to take that person out back and see if she had egg white inside instead of a brain. Then the sun would come up and she would

 

Santa is my faux grandma

 

Fortunato Salazar wrote this while receiving a tattoo, as an experiment in composing ekphrastic fiction on his phone while simultaneously being tattooed with a portion of the source illustration (an obscure 1980s album cover).

 

(Next story: Basking, Gloating by Michael Mungiello)

(Previous story: Bottle Black by Nickie Shobeiry)

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