FLASH FICTION: An Ostrich

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When Dad died, I talked to an ostrich.

In the waiting room, an ostrich sat down.

“Who let this ostrich in?” I said.

The janitor stared at me.

The ostrich stared at me.

The surgeon walked into the room. He tore off his white mask and put on a serious one.

“You don’t even have to say it,” I said.

The ostrich put his wing around me.

*

We didn’t have the greatest relationship, Dad and I. We didn’t talk. He treated me like shit. I loved him. I realized that after.

When he got sick… I walked closer to him, I sat closer. We still didn’t talk, but…

Then he died.

*

I wrote a letter. It said, I COULD REALLY USE A FRIEND. I mailed it to my friends.

No one got back to me.

One afternoon, there was a knock on the door.

I got out of bed. I got dressed.

I opened the door.

It was the ostrich.

He sat down on the sofa.

“I’ll make some coffee,” I said.

*

“I don’t remember Dad ever playing with me. He was always too old. Even when he wasn’t. He loved me. He never said it. I said it a lot when I was a kid, but … I didn’t mean it. Not really.”

You can tell an ostrich anything.

*

I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t open my eyes. I kept falling asleep. I kept dreaming.

I dreamed I was the last person on Earth. I felt so homesick. Even though I was home.

I crawled into bed—in my dream. I lay there.

Something touched my hair. Something tousled it. Like Dad.

I woke up.

I looked over.

There was something on the pillow, next to me.

An ostrich feather.

*

One morning…

I looked out the window.

The sky was blue. I hadn’t noticed that. Not in a long, long time.

I made breakfast.

I swept the floor.

I opened the front door and closed it.

I heard something.

I ran back to the window.

I saw the shadow of the ostrich, on the lawn.

Just the shadow.

Then it was gone.

                                                                            

*First published in The Walrus.

*From an unpublished collection, Dream Museum.

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.

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FLASH FICTION: The Angel Lady

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My final story for The Walrus. As you may know, I no longer write stories for them.

“The Angel Lady” is a chapter from my forthcoming flash novel The Sea-Wave, which will be published this fall by Guernica Editions.

Read “The Angel Lady” here. And order your signed, advance copy of The Sea-Wave here.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Sorry to say…

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The editors of The Walrus have decided, quite unexpectedly and without intelligible explanation, nine months into an agreed-upon one year term, that my services as resident creative columnist are no longer required.

There will be no more stories…

But I enjoyed writing them–enormously. And I want to thank you for reading them, even more enormously.

I don’t know that it would help, but notes of disappointment or support sent to the editor-in-chief (letters@thewalrus.ca) and the publisher (shelley.ambrose@thewalrus.ca) would do no harm. Nor would tweets in the same vein sent to @walrusmagazine…

Again, thanks for reading.

We’ll meet again.

-Rolli