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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoking With Ellen Parker

(Read the Story) September 28, 2009

Ellen Parker

Gallaher's Cigarette Card - Boy Scout Series "Sucking Poison from a Dog Bite"

In real life, are you a pet mom, or a no-pet mom? Is this story rooted in truth? A lost pet or an over-petted household?

I am a pet mom. I am a child mom. Yes, this story is rooted in trooth! But some of it is lies.

There is a recurring theme of keeping things warm. Is that what drives this mother? The need to keep things warm, safe… possibly to a fault?

This mother would like to be warm—but she’s given up her quest for warmth. Her heating bills are already too high.

Sheila has either gotten these animals for her kid, or the kid’s dad has, but we don’t know which is true and we’re told not to ask. Does Sheila know the truth?

Sheila does know the truth, and if you ask her, she’ll give you an answer. But if you ask her again an hour later, she might say something else.

The cat and the mother are named, but the kid is just “the kid.” Why?

I think it’s so the kid can’t Google her name and have this story come up. It’s OK if the cat Googles her name.

Where do you think the frog came from?

Some people on the block ran an “exotic pets” business—at least that’s what they claimed. Sheila was like, Yeah, sure! “Exotic pets!”

About the Author

Ellen Parker reads and writes. She is editor of the online literary magazine FRiGG.

This interview appeared in Issue Twenty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Six
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Deadline November 15!

The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) is a biennial competition that celebrates and compensates excellence in flash. The grand prize winner of The Smokey is automatically nominated for The Best Small Fictions, The Pushcart, Best of the Net, and any other prize we deem appropriate. In addition to all this love, we will also pay the grand prize winner $2500. Second place: $1000. Third place $500. Finalists: $100. All finalists and placers will be published in the special competition issue in December 2022.