Annie On Writing

June 22, 2016

Neil, a novella-in-flash by J. Bradley

Filed under: Twisted Tales,Writing Tools — Annie Evett @ 4:00 pm

A pair of Neil’s tighty whities lurks beneath the bed. My arm darts towards them.
“Make sure you always have clean underwear on”, my father said. He worried in the event I became a body to find that the rubberneckers orbiting the crime scene would notice the state of my clothes. The TV always skipped the honest parts of decomposition or else my father would have known better.
My thumb and forefinger clamp down on the waistband, the safest area. I drag the pair out, careful not to summon dust demons or alarm whatever else lives around them.
My father wasn’t good at following his own advice. I always sat on the floor in front of where he sat on the couch when we watched TV. I learned to not peer too much over my shoulder when we talked; once you see half of where you came from, you can’t quite ever unsee it.
I stop pulling once the tighty whities are out from beneath the bed. I get on my knees; examine the pattern of dust and stains on the fabric. Today, Neil learns how to use the washer.

Blip, Blip, Blip

Helen grips my hand when she sees the tumor on the screen. The sonographer moves the wand. The obstetrician points out the thing that makes the tumor a boy. Helen glances up at me. She doesn’t know how hard I practiced giving her a look that says “I’m happy that we’re doing this.”


Helen sits in the rocking chair, reads a bedtime story to her swelling belly. “It’ll make it easier for him to learn how to read when the time comes,” she says.
My father made me sound the words out as they scrolled, retracted, scrolled across the t.v. screen. He had no faith in books or newspapers. “You get words and pictures this way,” he said; I never learned all the things I could say goodnight to.


“This is the only communion I’m ok with,” my father said. He peeled the scab from his right forearm, looked at it, then put it in his mouth. “It’s your turn”, he said between chews. I winced as I peeled the scab from my shin.


A bee patrols the threshold of our apartment. Neil squeezes my hand; when you only know half of your genes, you don’t know what can kill you.


My father rolled up the rug in the hallway, dragged it into his bedroom. He moved the nightstand out of my room, placed it next to my door. “Every time I can hear you move around, you lose an hour of TV.”
He never threatened to lock me inside or force me to read and report about what I read. He didn’t want me to hate sunlight or books when I became as old as he was.
“Why do you want me to do this?”
He leaned against the nightstand, crossed his arms; he didn’t need to say “Because I said so.”


I navigate the penis shaped cookie cutter through the paper plate immune system, stop at the edge of the pie ovum.
I’m glad Neil didn’t find it in the kitchen drawers his Hot Wheels crashed in when they failed to make their jumps. If he had found it, I would have asked him what he thought it was and agreed. I would have taken a picture of him waving it around when he least expected it; good parenting is always thinking about what you can eventually leverage against your children.
I’m not sure why Helen tied an unopened condom to it. Maybe, when Neil was ready, she would have demonstrated how to wear it. Maybe, when Neil is ready, I’ll have him watch this reenactment of how he was made.


1 Comment »

  1. ewwwwww, very creepy!


    Comment by ganymeder — June 26, 2016 @ 11:19 am | Reply

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