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Class Reunion

Story by Morgan Harlow (Read author interview) September 19, 2022

© Edward Olive

At the reunion when I asked about you old friends shook their heads and turned away to go and mingle  with other friends in other groups, whispering something had happened, you had disappeared, whispering that I was the only one who knew you, but what did I know except that they’d always assumed, that you had always been marked, that you were the only one in our kindergarten class picture sitting cross legged on the floor, aiming a rubber band to send in my direction, as good as saying we somehow belonged together, sealing our fate in what would become a kind of friendship and later I’d recall, over the years, those reports on birds we did in second grade, how you chose the tufted titmouse, laughing and joking about the name until you were sent to the principal’s office, and from then on you were as if typecast, our teacher placing you in the role of bad guy in the class play and how, in third grade, our teacher yelled at you when you came back late from lunch, spaghetti sauce on your face and how, laughing, you wiped it off with your sleeve, along with the tears you probably thought no one saw, then the rumors of your parents divorcing and your mother seen dropping you off at school in an old car with a bad muffler, and how one day I went over to your house after school and you explained that your dad had gone to live across town with his other family and soon you’d be joining him and we sat on the couch together listening to a record from your older brother’s collection, a song you really dug called In- A-Gadda-Da-Vida which you wanted me to hear and which throughout my life I would often replay in my mind and think of you and that’s all I knew until the 30th year reunion of our sixth grade class, and a few weeks later the story in the papers that you were found dead on a secluded trail, a bag over your head with an empty backpack just out of reach.

About the Author

Morgan Harlow’s work appears or is forthcoming in CHEAP POP, Miramichi Flash, Washington Square Review, BULL, New World Writing Quarterly, and other journals.

This story appeared in A SmokeLong Summer 2022 — Special Issue of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly A SmokeLong Summer 2022 — Special Issue
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The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction

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.