“ROCKET” – flash fiction



     I have a rocket inside of me.  They put it inside me some odd years ago when I was young, maybe younger, or younger than youngest.  The rocket is white or maybe black or maybe even red?  The rocket does have a color only I’ve forgotten what that color is from years having passed.  I figured the color of the rocket must’ve faded or maybe I must’ve smeared it like paint across a canvas due to water, rain, tears.  I’ll just say for now the rocket is colorless.  The rocket is big.  It’s the length of my torso.  The tip of the rocket peeks at the crest of my chest; the bowel of the rocket peeks at the base of my cervix.  The rocket wants to fly, somewhere, anywhere.  Perhaps to the end of the world and back?  Perhaps to heaven and hell and back?  Perhaps from the north end of the pole to the south end of the pole and back?  Wherever the rocket can fly it wants to fly there.  In a general store, I am fourteen.  I am tall for fourteen.  Kids at school call me names like “daddy long legs” and  “Amazon woman”.  I don’t think it’s funny, but they do.  Their adolescence pose jealousy because I can touch the sky and they can’t.  In the store, my ash brown hair is split down the middle and braided in two.  I’m chewing gum and browsing the magazine rack regarding anything on rockets.  I want to be an astronaut woman but I don’t tell my mom.  My mom wants me to be something but she’s not sure what because she thinks I’m not sure what.  I pop my gum.  Please don’t do that! the boy who had been standing at a near distance casing through muscle car magazines snaps at me.  He doesn’t look at me as I look at him.  He’s got messy hair.  It’s blond.  Looks dirty but smells clean.  He looks eighteen.  Black t-shirt worn down jeans vintage combat boots.  I pop my gum louder and the guy, no longer the boy, purses sturdy lips and cringes in his athletically built body.  I’m amused, and so I pop my gum again just to amuse myself some more.  The guy furiously slams the magazine against the rack.  I know I should be scared but the guy reminds me of my dead dad.  He was always furious.  He liked to slam things against things and call names just to call names.  I finally turn away from the guy.  I start to pop my gum again only this time I pop air.  The guy, and to my amazement, shoved two fingers into my mouth and yanked out my gum and threw it on the floor.  The guy has brownish-blue eyes.  Once fierce are now serene.  He studies my face for a moment and something within me sparks coercing my insides to flutter.  I’m Darwin he says.  I swallow air.  You know he smirks like Darwinism?  I choke on my air but I’m still breathing.  You believe in Darwinism?  I ask in my girly-girly tone.  No.  You?  He asks.  No I say I believe in rockets.  Darwin is amused.  His rough hands slip into both his front pockets.  They move around and suddenly I’m intrigued to what lingers behind his button fly.  I turn away, embarrassed.  Seconds later I turn back to him to say something to him but there’s two sticks of gum being shoved gently into my mouth.  Pop all you want Darwin says.  I bite down on the gum; it’s minty.  So you like to fly?  Darwin assumes.  I nod.  I want to fly to the moon I concluded.  We’re racing down a deserted road in the outer of the skirts of a small Texas town.  Darwin has the pedal to the metal and my heart is racing a thousand miles per second like a rocket drunk on its fuel yet it can’t keep up with his Super Sport.  It’s metallic blue.  A crosswalk resides down the hood.  The thrushers are cranked wide open.  The sky is blue.  The sun is brilliant.  The air is hot.  The scenery all around is a blur.  I see nothing but the denim blue road ahead which reminds me of Darwin’s jeans.  Suddenly the Super Sport fishtails to an abrupt halt.  Both our bodies jerk forward hard then back.  I have to catch my heart at the base of my throat.  Darwin flips the gear in reverse and drives the Super Sport backwards a few yards on the road before he continues onto the fields of foxtails.  I glance through the back window and the Super Sport is nearing a tree.  I turn around in my seat and notice it’s the only tree visible from my vantage.  The Super Sport parks beneath the tree.  A swift breeze grazes the car the way cows graze fields.  I like you Darwin says.  I like you I tell him back.  Good he says.  I’m fourteen I say.  So he says.  I’m to young I say.  Darwin has a spark in his eye, the same spark that caused my insides to flutter earlier.  Fourteen is not young he says it’s the right age to fly to the moon.  Darwin leans across the seat and puts his mouth over mine.  His tongue fidgets with mine because I don’t know how to fidget with his; I’ve never kissed a guy before.  Darwin wrestles with my tongue for awhile until my tongue finally gives up and gives in.  For a moment with Darwin I feel like I’m eating a banana split.  The ice cream is soft and creamy and feels velvety like Darwin’s tongue.  The strawberry topping is delicately sweet like Darwin’s breath.  The pineapple topping reminds me of a tropical island, like Gilligan’s.  The chocolate topping is like sampling forbidden fruit.  The whip cream reminds me of being on cloud 9.  The nut topping feels like my feelings for Darwin.  The banana reminds me of Darwin’s cock.  The cherry reminds me of innocence lost.  I enjoyed my banana split.  I throw the container into the trash can and Darwin drives me home.  How was your day?  My mother asks.  I flew to the moon I tell her.  In a record store, I am fifteen.  Darwin tells me to take my hair down after we raced to our make-out place to make-out.  Instead of a banana split I have a sundae, and Darwin drives me home.  You’re late!  My mother gripes.  Yea, but I’m home! I gripe back.  In a clothing store, I am sixteen.  Darwin tells me to take off my clothes after we raced to our make-out place to make-out and have sex.  Instead of a sundae I have an ice cream cone, and Darwin drives me home.  You’re passed your curfew!  My mother bitches.  So ground me!  I bitch back.  In a liquor store, I am seventeen.  Darwin hands me a beer after we raced to our make-out place to make-out and drink and have sex.  Instead of an ice cream cone, I eat a burger, and Darwin drives me home.  That’s it, you’re grounded!  My mother yells.  Try and ground me!  I yell back.  In an Adult store, I am eighteen.  Darwin sticks the DVD porno flick into the player after we raced to our make-out place, now his apartment, to make-out and drink and have sex.  Instead of a burger, I eat some leftovers, and Darwin drives me home.  I want you packed and out of this house!  My mother screams.  Whatever!  I scream back.  In a drug store, I am nineteen.  Darwin hands me the stick and tells me to pee on it after we raced to our new apartment where we make-out, drink, and have sex regularly.  How are you?  My mother asks when she visits our new apartment.  Pregnant I tell her.  In a wedding store, I am twenty.  Darwin places the wedding ring on my matrimonial finger which he forgot to do earlier because of his nerves after we raced to our new home where we don’t make-out, drink, or have sex.  How is the pregnancy?  My mother asks when she visits our new home.  I’m overdue I tell her.  In a grocery store, I am twenty-one.  Darwin hands me the baby to take the groceries off the caravan after we raced to our home where we kiss, share quiet dinners, and make love.  How is the baby?  My mother asks when she visits the baby.  It’s not a baby I tell her It’s a rocket.   

The Book on Publishing – a must read article

     Over the weekend I read Keith Gessen’s article in this month’s (October) issue of Vanity Fair, “The Book on Publishing”.  And while I was anticipating reading about the author in general, Chad Harbach who spent a decade (10 years to those not yet familiar with the word “decade”) writing and revising his now famed published novel, “The Art of Fielding”, I was not prepared for the reality of where the publishing industry is actually heading. . .And I must say, it is an eye opener to those not yet familiar with the publishing industry.

     Aside from delivering a great piece on Chad Harbach’s struggle to getting his novel published, Gessen’s article was not only informative and insightful behind the production of the book, he also imprinted a rather haunting reflection of where the publishing industry may be heading. . .out of print.

     With the digital age having been fast approaching since the late 2000, it’s hard for struggling writer’s, such as myself, to believe, and with the economy still in a flux, that my novels will never make it to print, only digital.

     While there is nothing eccentrically unethical with reading books online or within a reader because of their convenience with virtually no driving to the nearest bookstore or waiting in long lines to purchase the latest best-sellers, I would be the first to say that I would honestly miss the feel of turning an actual page, miss the feel of paper between my fingers.  Or to say, I would miss the touch of a shield cloth protecting a great masterpiece, or holding something treasured, or owning something that could possibly be post-Americana Art.

     I have been writing for the past thirty years.  I only began pursuing my writing seriously in the last five years, and I must express this in grief and heartache because I can honestly see my lifelong dream of becoming a “traditional” author slowly succumbing to a “digital” author.

     I will be the first to admit that I have dabbled-thus far, and with no success-in self-publishing a couple of novels online, with downloading capabilities to Kindle, Epub and PDF.  And the only way I felt my novels could’ve gained marketable and profitable recognition had they been first traditionally published within a publishing house, offering the option of digital print.  Self-publishing, I find, is a very competitive business particularly when contending with other self-publishers whom are flooding the market at a vast rate.

     So I guess the question here is:  Is digital print the way to go?  Perhaps with the ever constant growth of modern day technology, digital publishing may no longer be the alternative to print as print could just possibly become. . .the alternative.

     You can read Keith Gesson’s article in its entirety at http://www.VF.com.